NEW DELHI: Giving a major push to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Indian Air Force said it will not go ahead with its plan to import the fifth generation fighter aircraft and also declared that it will induct the indigenously developed Astra missile system. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said, “There are no plans for a foreign FGFA now or in the foreseeable future.”
“The FGFA for the IAF will be the indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), for which work has already started.” India and Russia were jointly working on Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft project since 2007. While India continues to be one of the top importers of Defence equipment Indian Air Chief has expressed to overturn this trend. “The IAF remains committed to indigenous development in consonance with the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” Bhadauria said.
Adding he said, “I intend to carry forward this legacy and proactively ensure that indigenisation remains one of our main focus areas and, in times to come, indigenised equipment becomes our mainstay.” The IAF had inducted and promoted the indigenous development of aircraft, radars, missiles and other aviation equipment to achieve self-reliance and reduce dependency on foreign manufacturers.
IAF is using an indigenous Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft. “Indigenous trainer jet HTT-40, designed and developed by HAL, will be soon joining the IAF as plans to procure 38 more Pilatus (Switzerland Built) training aircraft have been dropped,” said the Chief.
Calling it the right move Air Chief Marshal Fali Major (retd) says, “We will have to give impetus to indigenous development of sophisticated arms and equipment as no other country will part with cutting edge technologies.”
But onus is on HAL and DPSUs to live up to the trust reposed in them by ensuring quality output required by the IAF which has been a sore point down the decades. “It must be remembered that the capability required cannot be compromised, neither in terms of reliability nor the time frame in which it is required,” says Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd), Additional Director General, Centre for Air Power Studies.