IAF pre­pared­ness for “short, sharp wars”

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence In India -

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports from New Delhi, “Air Chief Mar­shal BS Dhanoa has di­rected that the In­dian Air Force com­man­ders be pre­pared for short du­ra­tion but in­tense wars of 10 days in case of Pak­istan and 15 days with re­spect to China and also to main­tain ra­zor- sharp op­er­a­tional pre­pared­ness and en­hanced com­bat ef­fec­tive­ness.” This was re­port­edly the key di­rec­tion dur­ing the IAF Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence held in New Delhi dur­ing 19- 21 April 2017. Ac­cord­ingly, the Direc­torate of Air Staff In­spec­tion (DASI) will as­cer­tain pre­pared­ness of all op­er­a­tional units to keep per­son­nel and air­craft com­bat-ready with stocked-up weapons, mis­siles and alive radar sys­tems. Be­sides the es­sen­tial IAF role of air de­fence and dom­i­nance, counter-air, strate­gic-air (in­clud­ing space) and counter- sur­face op­er­a­tions that form the el­e­ments of its air strat­egy, com­bat-en­abling op­er­a­tions form the fourth pil­lar of air power.

“Avi­a­tion and Air De­fence as pri­or­ity”: COAS

Army Chief Gen­eral Bipin Rawat has listed avi­a­tion and air de­fence as “high pri­or­ity” for its mod­erni­sa­tion plans. He was speak­ing at the bian­nual Army Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence in New Delhi in April 2017. The Army re­quires 259 light util­ity he­li­copters to re­place the ob­so­les­cent Chee­tah/Chetak fleet of he­li­copters based on the 1950s-de­sign Alou­ette III and Lama and has also pro­jected re­quire­ments for 114 HAL light com­bat he­li­copters. As for air de­fence, the Army re­quires a three-tiered sys­tem, com­pris­ing the in­dige­nous Akash SAM with a range of 25 km, the Is­raeli Spyder as the ‘low-level, quick re­ac­tion mis­sile’ to neu­tralise hos­tile in­com­ing tar­gets up to 15 km away and air de­fence guns for close-in air de­fence, to within 4 km.

“Navy short­falls will be tack­led soon”: Arun Jait­ley

Ad­dress­ing the Naval Com­man­ders’ Con­fer­ence, De­fence Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley has as­sured the Navy that “the gov­ern­ment will in­crease re­sources to make good its short­falls soon with due im­pe­tus, through ap­pro­pri­ate de­fence pro­cure­ment poli­cies such as strate­gic part­ner­ship model which would be fi­nalised soon.” Spe­cific ref­er­ence was made to the crit­i­cal pend­ing re­quire­ment for multi-role he­li­copters (MRH), con­ven­tional sub­marines and mine counter mea­sure ves­sels (MCMVs).

“De­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing pol­icy soon”

The gov­ern­ment is at “ad­vanced stages” of for­mu­lat­ing a new pol­icy to in­crease do­mes­tic de­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing and so re­duce de­pen­dence on im­ported high­tech sys­tem. This was stated by Fi­nance and De­fence Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley on 28 April 2017: “In­dia is the world’s largest arms im­porter, spend­ing some 1.8 per cent of its GDP (gross do­mes­tic prod­uct) on de­fence. It im­ports about 70 per cent of de­fence equip­ment, a propo­si­tion which the gov­ern­ment wants to change,” Jait­ley said at an event or­gan­ised by the in­dus­try body CII. “We are in the ad­vanced stages of for­mu­lat­ing a pol­icy where we can en­sure that in­stead of just be­ing buy­ers, on the strength of tech­no­log­i­cal and other tieups, In­dia also be­comes a man­u­fac­tur­ing econ­omy.” The gov­ern­ment has re­port­edly pro­jected the need to spend $250 bil­lion on weapons and mil­i­tary equip­ment over the next ten years.

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