Rafale & Sukhoi Can’t Replace Each Other: IAF Chief

Amidst swirling speculation that India’s M-MRCA jet deal with Rafale is shuddering through final lap turbulence, and suggestions (including by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar himself) that the India could buy more Su-30 MKI jets if the Rafale deal didn’t work out, Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha today publicly declared that the Rafale and Su-30 were different aircraft and that one couldn’t replace the other.
“There’s M-MRCA and there’s Sukhoi-30. The requirements are slightly different. And they have their own capabilities. They compliment each other but do not replace each other,” Raha said at his press conference at the Aero India show in Bengaluru.
Making clear the IAF’s own thoughts on open suggestions that ‘other options’ existed in the event of a deal collapse, Raha said, “No, we don’t have a Plan-B as of now. We are only working on Plan-A.”
The IAF chief also stated, in what could be perceived as a sense of resignation over the turbulence negotiations have seen over the last 18 months, “Rafale has been selected as L1. It is a replacement. It is important that we have the MMRCA, I would not say Rafale. But we need to have it in the quickest possible time because the draw-down is true. Everyone is aware of the draw-down of combat squadrons of the IAF. Every air force faces this in its cycle of operations. It is not new or specific to IAF.”

30 thoughts on “Rafale & Sukhoi Can’t Replace Each Other: IAF Chief”

  1. When parrikar says sukhoi can cover for it, why IAF is he'll bent in getting rafale?
    With tejas mk1, 2 in pipeline and first AMCA slated to fly in 2024.

    1. Because parrikar is speaking economically and politically, chief is speaking strategically and by their operational capability

      I would expect the chief to know more about their capabilities than a politician…

  2. Rafale being a true multirole fighter and the only one in service in french airforce .. Including air superiority role with Mereor soon.. what is exactly that Su30 MKI can do and Rafale can not ?

  3. IAF chief works for india…if truth is required to be told in india's self interest…then so be it. Defence minister is not an expert in military aviation…the iaf chief is. his is the iaf official opinion…if the min wants to put his political will over the chief's military will…then we'll go for plan b. Just go thru the history of how mmrca has been selected…now when it comes to paying for it…you cant get all nervy.

  4. IAF chief cannot be idiotic.
    U all just dont do it in public. And more over in kargil war it was only mirage which worked efficiently. Not Mig-29, Sukhoi nothing worked der.
    And more over su-30 comes under heavy category and the requirement is medium category.
    So never ever su-30 ll replace rafale.
    But yes buying rafale doesnt make any sense.
    Getting on to plan B is a better idea i think.

  5. And moreover who is experinced more????
    Who knows more?????
    Is it any airforce official or Parrikar who has become defence minister recently.
    If only Parrikar or who ever is the defence minister knows every thing then why the hell is Arup Raha been made IAF chief.
    Make defence minister itself every thing Army, Navy, Air-Force chief.
    Ask all the chief to get retired then.

  6. I hear IAF chief but I would like to challenge his views that Suu-30 MKI cannot replace Rafale. There is nothing that Rafale can do that an SU-30 MKI cannot.
    In fact, at Red Flag, the SU-30MKI acquitted itself better than the Rafale did.
    With spare parts, the situation is equally bad on Rafale and French armed forces overall. Helicopters or MBT, the French are using 2 active copters or tanks (to cannibalize spares) to keep just 1 running.

  7. What can Su-30 do that Rafale cannot ? For a start, it can deliver more ordnance than the Rafale. It is a far superior aircraft — at half the price.

    Secondly, missiles like Agni, Prithvi and Brahmos have replaced fighters and bombers in the strike role.

    Thirdly, Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs) have replaced fighters in the air defence role.

    So the alleged shortage of fighters is a myth.

  8. India cannot afford or ever have a full spectrum of aircraft for all conceivable applications. The only reason such an idea comes up is because India's top brass have been reduced over the last several decades to being even less competent that their political masters in matters of military strategy, tactics and, by extension, appropriate technology. This is rather like saying India must have Aircraft Carriers because it has one. I doubt that the top echelons of the Armed Forces and their Neta-Babu over lords are any more competent or capable of preparing realistic war simulations with National security over riding the priorities of personal, service, and political ambitions to come up with taut and essential weapons requirements over the next fifteen years that India's fabled DRDO is capable or competent of coming with fit-for-purpose weaponry over a four to five decade time horizon. India is the product of its own cultural momentum and addictions founded on its Constitution, laws and policies over the last 68 years that have seen it ground down from a great power that swaggered in to enforce the truce between the US and China in Korea and turned down the Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council in favour of China in 1957, to the fourth rate power and third world country struggling below Sub-Saharan Africa on the Human Development Index that it is today.

  9. All planes can only drop bombs and fire missiles and the Rafale has no advantage over the Su-30 MKI, the MCA and the Tejas in any of these roles.

    Let's cancel this deal already, this has gone on for far too long. Kill the RAFALE.

  10. Appreciate Raha calling spade a spade. Chief is putting his foot down. He really knows what IAF wants. Unlike who post comments can bark their heart out.

    1. Time to ring the new bell , IAF must collect their wits about them and focus on indignation. The changing environment at present in India is conducive and must be leveraged for internal development.

  11. PLAN B FOR INDIA : India and Indian brass has/have to learn to defend India with made in India things. Indians have the capabilities to build and do anything if given the same opportunities as people in other nations. For $30 billion India should have three Indian companies building different models of fighter planes competitively in India.

  12. Su-30MKI will control the sky while the Rafael delivers blows directly to the face of the enemy that how they complement each other. Su-30 is air dominance fighter with ground attack as an add-on role, while Rafael is ground attack with air dominance as add-on

  13. For those who think IAF chief is all knowledgable, just see you tube video of ex IAF talk in strategy page.
    Your opinions will change. Except for indian navy ex chief.
    And those who think parrikar is any less, he is an IIT an.

  14. We should not blame the ISF. After Kargil,they wanted to buy more Mirage 2000 and get on with life.
    What MoD did was to have the idea of competitive bidding. Took 5 years to make RFI/RFQ etc etc
    They failed to take decisions gone years after IAF short listed aircraft based on agree criterion .
    Good to see IAF chief stick to his stand of wanting MRCA.
    HAL ought to,give these boys more of LCA quickly

  15. All those people supporting the current IAF chief,should answer if they feel shameful about the fact that an ex IAF chief is accused of taking bribe from MNC's ?.

  16. Which country (including Feance) has "heavy" fighter like Su30 and then "medium" Rafale? France uses Rafale for all roles and india should be using Su30 for those tasks. The entire category of MMRCA is a made up one when IAF wants Rafale AND Su30 in its inventory.

  17. How many airframes iaf want to fly? Do they have infrastructure to accommodate? Su30, fgfa, lca, rafale and what not. Rafale is good plane but French can't armtwist us. Parrikar is a mechanical engineer he is not a dumb guy, may be pro su30 quote was plan to negotiate with France.

  18. Friends , let us keep the LCA 1 or2 out of the discussion . The opposition commands F16 , Su 27 , J10 & 17 and we need a lot of advanced planes to defend our turf. If you cannot get the Mig 29 or the Gripen , we have no choice but the rafale. The air chief should not engage in discussions with the media ( who dont understand their elbows from their musharraf ). He should give an ultimatum to the GOI and appraise the Govt. that the next war is lost unless the demands of his forces are met.

  19. Why dont they consider buying Mig-35
    It has many advantage over rafale
    1)It can do all the things rafale can do
    2)It is also a medium class fighter
    3)It has a AESA Radar which rafale does not have
    4)It is way more cheaper than the rafale

  20. Why not consider buying Mig-35?
    It has Everything what rafale has and in some cases it has advantages over rafale.
    1)It has a AESA Radar which rafale does not have
    2)It is way more cheaper than the rafale
    3)India also have some 70 mig-29s which they can upgrade to mig-35 standard

  21. Air chief may be more knowledgeable than Def min but he cannot operate in his own world. Why can't IAF junk the Rafale & put in the the 10-20Bill USD into LCA mk2 or mk5 & order mix of mirage 2005- mig 29k- sukhoi mki to make up numbers. I'm sure if they place orders for 200 fighters t'row, govt will make HAL ramp up production to 20 aircraft p.a.

  22. My concern here is about the depleting squdron strentgh of the IAF..
    If our force size is reducing then we need to rebuild it without thinking about its coast..

    Victory never comes free of coast.. we need to pay for it..
    Please remember the 1962 Sino-Indian war.. we lost it becase we did not bother to equip our armed forces with latest weapons..

    mig 21 and mig 27 will be phased out shortly.. so we will loose around 10 to 15 squdrons.. so we will be left only with 25 squdrons..

    How can we face a two front war with china and pakistan..??

    I request the defence minister to take a bold decision..
    My request to Shree Manohar Parrikar is as follows,

    Respected Sir,

    Let whatever the coast it may be.. go ahead for the rafeal deal..
    We are with you.. at times we must make bold decisions..
    When the country's air force is badly in need of fighter jets we cant make more delay..

    It will surely be an advantage for our enenmy countries..
    buying just 36 rafeals will not meet the requirement of the IAF..
    We need 126 and we must get them to secure our skies..

    All the patriotic guys like will surely support you, if you take bold steps forward..

    Go Ahead Sir..
    Fortune favours the BRAVE..
    Jai Hind..

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