NEW DELHI: The security challenges and geopolitical uncertainty in the neighbourhood have triggered monumental transformation through the infusion of technology into the Indian Air Force, said Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Saturday. The Air Chief was presiding over the Passing Out Parade at the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad.
Air Chief Bhadauria said, “Rapid infusion of niche technology and combat power in every facet of our operations has never been as intense as it is now. This is primarily because of the unprecedented and rapidly evolving security challenges that we face, coupled with a rising geopolitical uncertainty in our neighbourhood and beyond.”
India and China are locked in a standoff for more than a year at multiple points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. It was in May 2020 that Chinese soldiers clashed with Indian Army soldiers at Finger 4, North Bank of the Pangong Tso and mobilised their troops at multiple points in a standoff mode. More than 50,000 soldiers along with tanks, artillery guns, missiles and equipment are currently deployed on both sides of the 826 kilometre long LAC in Ladakh.
The Air Force, since last year, has positioned its aircraft at bases which will require minimum time to react to any contingency along the borders.
Speaking about the role of the Air Force, Bhadauria said, “The last few decades have clearly established the critical role of air power in achieving victory in any conflict. It is in this backdrop that the IAF’s on-going capability enhancement assumes tremendous significance.”
The Air Chief termed the time fortunate for the officers to be joining now. “Pilots will get to fly fighters carrying an array of potent standoff precision weapons and connected in networks. The transport and helicopter fleets are equipped with C-17, C-130, ALH, Chinook and Apache aircraft which are state of the art and capable of contributing equally effectively in war or Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) situations," he said.
Also, engineers will need to use the e-MMS, which is one of the largest networked aircraft maintenance management systems in the world. Controllers will have to adapt to vectoring fighters in large formations using digitised and networked and logistics officers will be working in automated procurement and resupply on inventory management. “All of you will be tied together with a completely paperless e-governance suite to enhance the efficiency of basic administration across the entire Air Force,” the Air Chief told the officers.
A total of 161 officers got commissioned into various branches and services on Saturday including six officers from the Indian Navy and five officers from the Indian Coast Guard into the flying branch.
The Air Chief complimented the Air Force Academy for not just completing the training despite severe COVID constraints and within the stipulated period but also setting a record of clocking over 20,500 hrs of flying over the last one year – the highest ever in its history.
Talking about the transition towards integration of the forces, the Air Chief told the officers, “It is also essential for all of you to bear in mind that as future leaders, you will stand shoulder to shoulder with your comrades in Olive Greens and Whites and prosecute integrated operations. You will be an integral part of this important transition in the years ahead.”