SOURCE: MANORAMA ONLINE
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria said on Monday that complete trust has been put on desi fighter Tejas and its future variants.
Addressing his annual press conference here ahead of the 89th IAF Day on October 8, the CAS said that IAF is scaling up combat capability and credibility through modernisation and operational training in addition to increasing indigenous equipment to achieve self-reliance and strategic autonomy.
“We have placed our trust in the LCA (Tejas). In the next five years we will commence induction of 83 LCA Mk1As. We are supportive of DRDO and HAL’s effort at their indigenous production and you will soon see the contract of HTT-40 and LCH,” the IAF Chief said.
He said the second half of this decade will see IAF leapfrog to the induction of next generation platforms.
“Be it the future LCA versions, the AMCA or unmanned combat enablers, and which include combat, manned and unmanned platforms. We are committed to the indigenous development of fifth generation AMCA which will be the mainstay of the IAF fighter fleet after a decade or so,” the IAF Chief said.
He said, in the emerging security scenario in the neighbourhood and beyond mandates a robust capability to fight across the entire spectrum of warfare.
“In the year gone by, the IAF has continued its stride on the path of comprehensive enhancement of capabilities and sustained modernisation. IAF is transforming at a rapid pace and over the years we have grown from being a tactical force to a strategic one with trans-oceanic reach,” he said.
He said IAF’s offensive strike capability has been honed with up-gradations and new inductions of weapons and platforms, ably supported by combat enablers and a networked decision making environment, including an integrated approach to handle incoming threats.
“We have the largest strategic air lift capability in our region comprising of IL-76, C-17 & C-130 platforms. We have significantly enhanced our heli-lift capabilities with our helicopter inductions. Our immediate offensive deployment of combat ready units in response to the stand-off along the LAC in the North is indicative of our operational state today,” he said.
On Rafales, the IAF Chief said it is a platform armed with weapons, sensors and technologies way ahead giving an operational and technological edge. “Combined with upgraded capabilities of our current fighter fleet, it gives us the ability to shoot first and strike deep and hard, even in contested airspace,” he said.
On the joint command structures, he said that deliberations are on for a solution that will fit IAF’s unique environment and the need to maximise its resources.
“Tri-Services study teams have been formed which are looking and deliberating to arrive at the most optimum solution and the contours of such a joint structure that will come up in the near future. The core competence of each service is being effectively synergised to attain the desired capability and generate the desired effect in operations,” Bhadauria said.
He said modernisation is an ongoing priority area to enhance operational potential in keeping with the desired combat capability in the years to come.
“This includes induction of state-of-the-art modern equipment as well as simultaneously up-grading existing systems to boost their capabilities and ensure operational relevance. Time-frames for such activities are planned to ensure an operational edge over the adversaries in the coming years,” he said.