Air Marshal Browne, a seasoned SEPECAT Jaguar pilot who has extensive experience on virtually every variant of the MiG-21 as well, was asked today if he was apprehensive that the F-16 — a contender in the MMRCA competition — was the principal air defence platform of the Pakistan Air Force. He replied, “The configuration of the F-16 on offer to the IAF is substantially different from what has been made available to the Pakistanis”.
In an interaction with reporters ahead of India’s 78th Air Force Day, Air Marshal Brown — positioned to take over as Chief of Air Staff in July next year — said, “We are aware of the new F-16 inductions by the PAF. We have a sense of what’s happening. The new F-16s they have and are getting are certainly a challenge.”
“The assymetry between the capabilities of both air forces was a certain amount in the past. That has somewhat reduced now. The PAF is going in for a fast-track induction of beyond visual range air to air missiles (BVRAAMs) and precision guided munitions (PGMs). These are things that actually tend to reduce the gap,” the officer said.
“But they won’t catch us up,” he added.