Britain’s frontline fighter jet Eurofighter Typhoon, shortlisted for
India’s $10.4-billion combat jets tender, whacked the Indian Air Force
(IAF) warhorse Sukhoi in one-on-one dog fights during bilateral air war
games, if Britain’s air chief is to be believed.
‘Well, they lost,’ was Stephen Dalton’s response when IANS asked how the
Russia-developed India-manufactured Su-30MKI air superiority jets
performed against the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Typhoons when they matched
their wits during the joint exercises in recent years.
However, he was quick to add that the two aircraft are different in
technologies, and that Typhoons are next generation, and hence there is
Dalton was interacting with IANS at the recently held Royal International Air Tattoo military air show at the RAF base here.
Interestingly, the IAF had claimed in 2007 that Sukhoi’s performance
against Typhoon had convinced the RAF of its superiority. ‘The RAF
pilots were candid in their admission of the Su-30 MKI’s observed
superior manoeuvring in the air, just as they had studied, prepared and
anticipated,’ an Indian defence ministry release had said during the
July 2007 Indradhanush.
It was, however, fair to Typhoon, saying the IAF pilots were impressed with its agility in the air.
Dalton was also all praise for the IAF for training its pilots to put any aircraft they fly to best use.
‘The issue is you are comparing technology and people. So, more often
than not, technology can give you a great edge, a great lead. But
actually it is always the people (behind the machines) who make the
difference at the end of the day,’ he said.
‘It is not just how the aircraft did in the air. It is also about how
the individual thinks, how they work, and their willingness to develop
and to experiment.
‘I have always found the IAF to be extremely good. Yes, technology is a
significant element, but also the individual is really important in
this,’ he added.
Dalton also indicated that the IAF inventory of Sukhois, MiGs and Mirages are no match to the Typhoons.
‘Nothing that India has got is anything anywhere near this (the
Typhoon). I would say that absolutely. This airplane is phenomenally
different in both performance and technology in anything they (IAF) got
right now,’ he said.
But, he added, it was not criticism, as Typhoon is the product of next generation technology.
‘I would say the IAF crew that I have worked with and seen are every bit
as clever as any other air crew in the world, and in many cases better.
It is all about the man as the machine that they operate,’ he added.
Dalton said the cooperation between the RAF and the IAF will continue,
as Britain valued this relationship. ‘IAF has a lot of experience and I
would like to suck that out and use it, quite frankly,’ he added.