Former Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Arup Raha while delivering a talk in the ” The Chanakya Dialogues” said that the Indian Air force is short on force multiplier aircraft like AWACS, In-flight refueling aircraft, and SIGNIT aircraft that it is not adequate for maintaining vigilance in one theater for 24 hours making it nearly impossible to deploy them in 4-5 other theater command.

The former Chief confirmed that IAF requires a combination of 15 AWACS and AEW&CS aircraft for the around clock Aerial coverage in multiple theater commands when the situation needs but acknowledged that recent efforts have been made to boost the strength of Force Multipliers in IAF in coming years.

IAF operates 3 IL-76-based Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) and 2 Netra AEW&CS aircraft. IAF has sanctioned the Netra Mk2 program under which it will acquire six Netra Mk2 AEW&CS suites mounted on the Ex-Air India-operated Airbus A321 aircraft.

HAL-IAI has been tasked to convert six Boeing-767 civilian aircraft into mid-air refuellers for the Indian Air Force (IAF). DRDO is also working on an airborne SIGINT system based on the Airbus A321 aircraft.

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