Network centric operations vital for survival : Air Marshal

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New Delhi, Aug 16 (UNI) Air Marshal P V Naik, Vice Chief of Air taff, Indian Air Force (IAF) today visited the IAF team, which is participating in Exercise Red Flag at Air Force Base Nellis, Nevada in the US, and expressed hopes for "increased cooperation in future".

During the course of his visit, Air Marshal Naik attended the exercise briefings, witnessed flying and exercise debriefs. He was accompanied by Lt Gen Loyd Utterback, Commander 13th Air Force, USAF, Hawaii. He also visited the combined Air and Space operation center at the base and had detailed interaction with the air crew on the progress on their missions.

He addressed the participants and also broke the news of the Sixth Pay Commission to them. He congratulated the technicians for 100 per cent serviceability rate so far.

Talking to mediapersons, Air Marshal Naik said, ''I am of the opinion that the relations between countries are best started by the Armed Forces. India and the US have been natural friends for a long time and they are getting closer and closer. We are looking for increased cooperation in future.'' On being asked about Network Centric Operations (NCW) in the IAF, he said, ''Network Centric Warfare capability is vital and indispensable in today's warfare. IAF is a network enabled Air Force and we are progressing towards complete network centricity very fast. This involved linking the ground, air and space assets together to have complete situational awareness.

For this, he said we are in the process of laying a network of fibre optics data links called the AF Net, which will be a part of the Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS). The integration of Operational Data Link on the airborne platforms of IAF will complete the chain. The connectivity of platforms will be 'written' on them. In October, we are expecting the AWACS which will be a crucial link in our network centricity.'' On being asked whether the goals of the exercise had been achieved or not, Air Marshal Naik said, ''It is every pilot's dream to take part in this exercise, which helps them to fly away from home environment with various other types of aircraft. It is a dense flying environment with large force engagements. It has only been three to four days of flying in the exercise but we are on track to achieve our set goals.'' Lt Gen Loyd Utterback addressed the Air Warriors and said, ''I have flown down from Hawaii to meet you all. The USAF and IAF together form an incredible team. I have been planning to get the IAF team in Red Flag and it has now materialised for peace and security in the region. I am looking forward to work more with you.'' UNI SD LPB HS1731

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