The 89th anniversary of the Indian Air Force is an important occasion for all air warriors as we pay tribute to the courage and fortitude of our predecessors and rededicate ourselves in service of this great nation.
2020-21 has been a year of uncertainties and unmatched challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. IAF instituted various proactive measures to contain its spread that would otherwise have severely affected our operations. As the first responder, the tenacity and resolve of our Air Warriors ensured that the IAF continued to retain its capability and capacity to undertake full scale operations, throughout this period.
The IAF participated in multi-national exercises and all combat units remained on high alert to deter any adverse situation along the land border. Additionally, our transport and helicopter fleet provided round the clock support for COVID tasks during the second wave, flying 1100 hours of short notice commitments to 18 countries and over 2600 hours within the country, coordinating and promptly positioning oxygen and medical supplies wherever required.
IAF is on a path of transformation with accelerated capability enhancement plans that further its growth into a highly agile and technologically potent force. This transformation redefines the way we employ aerospace power and conduct integrated multi-domain operations. We have rapidly integrated new acquisitions and blended legacy systems to ensure seamless conduct of high tempo operations. We have focussed on synergised joint operations at all levels to ensure our forces are ready to handle 21st century warfare.
Our vision for the coming years is to comprehensively build up our combat capability through reprioritized force structuring along with emphasis on self-reliance and indigenization. In the next few years, we aim to induct combat platforms, weapons and sensors, radars and ISR systems by being "Aatmanirbhar". The IAF is fully committed to the development of the AMCA, LCH, LUH, HTT-40 and "Make in India" programme of C295 project within the Indian aerospace ecosystem.
My compliments to SP's Aviation team for their insightful publication in bringing out these perspectives in a special issue dedicated to the IAF. The efforts by the group in highlighting IAF's contribution in the tasks of national defence and nation building is indeed laudable. I wish the reader of SP's Aviation all the very best in their future endeavours.