The current focus of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is to promote and encourage indigenisation in its fleet, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Monday. He was briefing media personnel two days ahead of 84th Indian Air Force Day.
From tackling a two-front war to enhancing capabilities of IAF by inducting new technologies and equipment into Vayu Sena, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria, outlined the IAF’s vision and its preparedness to counter adversaries in future.
The IAF chief said that right from inducting indigenously developed weapons in fighters to deploying aircraft such as Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) etc. into its fleet, the Indian Air Force is aligning itself with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ .
Speaking about two front war, Air Chief opined that with the induction of most advanced fighter Rafale, IAF is equipped with a technological edge over its adversaries and is currently well poised to tackle any kind of threat emerging from country’s border.
“The IAF has inducted five Rafales and another five are operational in France on which pilots are being trained. By November, we will receive another set of three to four Rafales and there on, after every three to four months, we will keep receiving the aircraft until the order is completed,” he said.
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria also spoke about the importance of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and their use in the warfare. Elaborating on their role, he said that UAVs and drones play a very vital and crucial role in the initial build of any warfare but with limited role and scope.
“Once the real conflict starts, they become a very susceptible enemy target and hence they need to be taken off from the picture. No one can win the war with drones and UAVs,” the IAF Chief said.
Since the strengthen of Indian Air Force refuellers has not gone up as compared to its other paraphernalia in recent times, the IAF is planning to float a Request for Proposal (REP) to purchase six refuellers. When inducted, the refuellers, also referred to as tankers, would prove to be a vital strategic asset and force multiplier as they will allow fighter jets to stay airborne longer.
If the buying deal doesn’t go through then IAF might opt for leasing these refuellers under the government’s new leasing policy. The newly drafted policy empowers the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force to lease equipment rather than purchasing them.
The IAF at present operates a fleet of six Russian IIyushin-78 tankers that suffer from maintenance and serviceability issues, as pointed out in an August 2017 CAG report that studied the refuellers’ operations between 2010 and 2016.