Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa in a press briefing in Coimbatore on Monday said that the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) job is to hit their targets and not count casualties.
When asked about clarity on the number of casualties caused by the precision air strikes carried out on 26 February, Dhanoa said, “We hit our target. The air force doesn’t calculate casualty numbers, the government does that.” He added that Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan responded because the targets were hit. “If we dropped bombs in the jungles, why would he (Khan) respond?” he asked.
Responding to a question on why the MiG-21 Bison was used against Pakistan’s F-16 when Pakistan retaliated on 27 February to Indian air strikes, Dhanoa said that the IAF fights with all aircraft in its inventory. “The Mig-21 Bison is a capable aircraft, it has been upgraded, it has better radar, air-to air missiles and better weapons system, he said.” He further said that what aircraft is used in a planned strike can be decided. However, when an adversary does strike, “every available aircraft goes in”.
Dhanoa also said that the plan to replace India’s ageing fleet, including its Jaguar and Mirage-2000 aircraft. The Rafale fighter jets are likely to be inducted by September this year, he said.
Commenting on Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s return to the cockpit, the IAF chief said that the pilot will only fly a fighter jet when he clears all medical tests. “Ejection takes a heavy toll on the body. Whatever treatment required, will be given. Once we get his medical fitness, he will get into the fighter cockpit,” Dhanoa said.
When asked about the accidents involving IAF aircraft, Dhanoa said that India has lost only the Mi-17 helicopter in Budgam on 27 February and two aircraft in the mid-air collision during rehearsals for the Aero India show in Bengaluru last month. However, he also said that the IAF has to get its act together and find out the cause behind the mid-air crash.
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Updated Date: Mar 04, 2019 16:03:38 IST