The new IAF Chief has shown full support for India’s own 5th Gen fighter programme i.e. AMCA, being developed. It sounds great and good in the spirit towards supporting country’s own efforts. It’s pertinent, however, to analyse how timely it will be, how operationally apt it will be and when will this be allready for IAF with all the necessary and contemporary features of a 5th Gen of the future warfare. In any war-like scenario, forces need well-proven, well-tried war machines which also are supposed to be true to their generation-centric claims.
SP’s Aviation congratulates Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, the new Chief of Air Staff (CAS), on his appointment. We look forward to a smooth process of modernisation and expansive growth of the IAF under his leadership.
Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrates its 87th anniversary this year. While this undoubtedly is a momentous occasion and is being celebrated with the usual pride and fervour, the IAF is also confronted with a number of daunting challenges. Over the years, there has been significant erosion in the overall operational edge that the IAF had over its main adversary Pakistan. Once again, in the wake of some recent political developments in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), there has been escalation of military tension with our neighbour Pakistan not only along the Line of Control in J&K, but along the international border as well. The IAF must therefore be prepared for a possible conflict with Pakistan or a full scale war even though it might still appear to be a remote possibility.
The problem for the IAF is rendered more challenging by the fact that China is also emerging as a serious threat to our national security. An in-depth analysis by Group Captain A.K. Sachdev (Retd) of the growing threat from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as it enhances operational infrastructure and its ominous presence in the Tibet Autonomous Region, has been included in this issue of SP’s Aviation.
36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation of France are to be delivered to the IAF in the next three years. Talking about this latest induction into the combat fleet of the IAF, Air Marshal S.B.P. Sinha (Retd) former Deputy Chief of the Air Staff as well as Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Central Air Command of the IAF, says that the Rafale is one of the most potent aircraft today, which will exponentially enhance the combat potential of IAF and significantly boost India’s deterrence capability.
Modernisation of the IAF is clearly an imperative today given its eroded operational status vis a vis the overall security situation in the region. While the transport fleet is in a reasonably healthy state and the helicopter fleet is being revamped with the induction of a fleet of 22 AH64E(I) Apache modern and potent attack helicopters and 15 CH47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters, both very capable rotary wing platforms from Boeing. Writing on the state of the inventory of aerial weapons that the IAF ought to possess, in an article in this issue on the subject, Air Marshal Anil Chopra (Retd) shows the way forward for the IAF. Delving into the issue of modernisation of the IAF, in his article on the subject, Group Captain J. Noronha (Retd) examines the inventory holdings of Force Multipliers in the IAF and focuses on the different platforms the service urgently needs to significantly enhance its operational capability especially of its combat fleet.
All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation dedicated to the IAF on the occasion of its 87th anniversary. Welcome aboard and wish you many happy landings!