IAF, 75, Set for Modernisation of Transformational Proportions

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New Delhi, Oct 5 (UNI) Celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of its inception -- and on ''the threshold of modernisation of transformational proportions'', the Indian Air Force is edging towards becoming a lean, mean force set to expand its reach.

And as aerospace power -- with its dramatically increased applicability in war and peace -- becomes ''the instrument of choice'', the tasks of the IAF were set to increase and its resources stretched further.

''Our endeavour is to acquire long-reach, persistent, all-weather, precision, net-worked and space-enabled force capabilities,'' said Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major in an IAF Day-eve media interaction today.

''With the many significant changes taking place in our environment, equipment, doctrines, roles and organisation, we are accomodating and adapting to them... reorienting ourselves to the country's expanding strategic boundaries....'' ''Always conscious of costs, our goal is to acquire only requisite capability -- but well in time; the right people, and be well organised for assured performance... and thus ensure vital national interests,'' the IAF Chief told mediapersons here.

The IAF modernisation plan, he said, comprised acquisitions and upgrades of equipment and skills. ''IAF strongly supports indigenous Research&Development as also working with friendly nations for mutual benefit....'' Further, the IAF Chief emphasised the importance of 'jointness' as the way forward synergising the core competencies of each Service to generate ''the required effect and capability''.

The Air Chief pointed to the long journey that the IAF had completed so far -- from a single flight of four 'Wapitis' in 1932 to the fourth-largest, professionally-acclaimed, powerful, modern and strategic air force of today.

Yet, he claimed not to worry at depleting force levels -- presently only 32 Squadrons as against the sanctioned 39 1/2 -- because the ''lethality and preparedness'' of the IAF were ''top flight''.

With Requests for Proposal (RfPs) already issued for acquiring 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), ongoing mid-life upgrades of the air dominance Sukhoi-30MKI fighters and impending induction of 66 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT), ACM Major promised ''a very different kind of air force'' in the next five-to-ten years.

UNI

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