Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa stated that the Indian Air Force accomplished its mission in the Halakot air strike. He further added that it was all possible due to the technological sharpness the IAF has and that the outcome would have been much better if the Rafale jets had been introduced “on time”. Air power is most sensitive to technological change, he stated.
“In the Balakot operations, we had technology on our side and we could launch precision stand-off weapons with great accuracy. In the subsequent engagement, we came out better because we had upgraded our Mig-21s Bisons and Mirage-2000 aircraft… The result would have been further skewed in our favour had we inducted the Rafale aircraft in time,” ACM Dhanoa said in a statement.
He was speaking at a seminar jointly organised by IAF and Centre for Air Power Studies to mark the birth centenary of Marshal of IAF (MIAF) Arjan Singh.
He learnt that with the proposed introduction of the ‘Rafale aircraft and the S-400 Surface’ to Air Missile (SAM) systems in the next 2-4 years, once again the “technological balance will shift in our favour, like it was in 2002, during the Operation Parakram [major military mobilisation after terror attack on Parliament].”
In this case, ACM Dhanoa said that some critical technological inductions- Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), fourth-generation fighter aircraft, Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) platforms and critical force enablers have to be accelerated in a bid to maintain “the edge in such short skirmishes where we cannot bring our numbers to bear for a decisive outcome.”
FYI, MIAF Singh is the only five-star officer of the Indian Air Force. During his service term, he has had memorable moments in the cockpit flying over 60 different types of aircraft from pre-WWII biplanes to the supersonic Mig-21. He undertook his first ever solo flight on a Mig-21 on his 50th birthday when he was the CAS.
He called it quits from his service on July 16, 1969. The government honoured the rank of MIAF on him on January 26, 2002. Then he plied his trade as India’s Envoy to Switzerland and Kenya, and also as the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi.