India working on stealth fighter, sixth-generation capabilities will be incorporated in it: IAF chief

The IAF chief was speaking at a press conference after the conclusion of 'Exercise Desert Knight-21' held in Jodhpur by the air forces of India and France.

Published: 23rd January 2021 09:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2021 09:43 PM   |  A+A-

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria during the inauguration of 58th annual conference of Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine in Bengaluru Thursday Nov. 14 2019.

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria (Photo | PTI)


JODHPUR: Eight Rafale aircraft have already arrived in India and three more are expected by the end of this month, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria said here on Saturday.

The IAF chief was speaking at a press conference after the conclusion of 'Exercise Desert Knight-21' held in Jodhpur by the air forces of India and France.

He said IAF has initiated a fifth-generation fighter aircraft programme with the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and plans to incorporate some sixth-generation capabilities in it as well.

"Our present vision is to incorporate all the latest technologies and sensors in our fifth-generation aircraft," Bhadauria said.

"We started work on fifth-generation aircraft a little late. So technologies and sensors contemporary to that period of development would be added into fifth-generation fighters," he added.

Bhadauria said when IAF received the Rafale aircraft, the first priority was to operationalise it and integrate it with the existing combat fleet.

"It has already been done, and the current exercise Desert Knight was the result of that," he said.

"We have some Indian pilots training in France and some in India itself. We have enough pilots to have a right pilot-cockpit ratio," the Air Chief Marshal said, adding that the entire induction would be completed by next year.

Earlier, Bhadauria congratulated both the air forces for successfully completing the exercise in just four days.

Desert Knight-21 was scheduled to be held over five days.

"It is not in terms of interoperability which has been learnt in this exercise, but employment of best practices, operational philosophies and mutual as well as professional interaction," he said.

Later, talking to the media, French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain said bilateral cooperation between the two countries has been going on ever since the first French aircraft landed in India in 1953.

"Now Rafale is the reflection of this strengthened cooperation and partnership," Lenain said.

He said this partnership has persisted through good and bad times.

"When India faced difficulties during its atomic test in Pokran in 1998, we were at your side while other countries opposed and objected. And we were also by your side in cooperation manner when you had difficulties with one of your neighbours," the ambassador said.

He said this exercise would further help in building mutual trust and pave the way for more cooperation.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp