IAF Always Combat-ready : Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa
Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa has said the Indian Air Force (IAF) is well prepared to fight a war at short notice if the need arises.“Notwithstanding the pace of ongoing acquisition,modernisation, indigenization effort and our desire for peace, we are prepared to fight at a short notice should the need arise,” the IAF Chief said.
The uncertainties in the present geopolitical environment in the region may require the IAF to fight a “short” and “swift war”, he added. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa made the statement while attending the Air Force Day function at Hindon Air Force Base.
“I assure my countrymen that these men and women under my command are confident to take on any threat and fully prepared to undertake full spectrum of air operations and respond to any challenge in the most befitting manner,” he said.
“The Indian Air Force is acquiring multi-spectrum strategic capabilities and remained committed to building a ‘joint manship’ with the Indian Army and the Navy,” he added, in the presence of Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and top IAF officials.
Emphasising the need to have joint planning and coordination among the IAF, the Army and the Navy to enhance the overall defence capability of the country, the Air Chief Marshal said, “Indian Air Force is firm in its belief that joint planning and operations are the way ahead for which core competencies of each service must be synergised to generate desired effect and capability.”
Earlier, against the background of the Doklam standoff with China and
continued cross-border terrorist action backed by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, the IAF Chief had asserted that the IAF was capable of a two-front war to counter China and Pakistan.
“Notwithstanding the high intensity of our flying, we cannot afford to have accidents and lose valuable lives and assets. Our losses during peace time is a cause of concern and we are making
concerted efforts to prevent accidents and preserve our assets,” he said, referring to the loss of lives of seven security personnel in the Mi-17 chopper crash in Tawang.
Dhanoa paid glowing tributes to Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, who passed away recently, calling his demise a tragic loss for the force.
The IAF chief also highlighted IAF’s acquisition programme and said setting up of a robust network-centric operational capability is nearing its goal. “We are in
the process of acquiring new combat systems, upgrading and modernising our existing inventory of aircraft and weapons system with an aim to equip them with the latest avionics technology,” he said.
In this regard, he also mentioned the mid-life upgradation of various fighter jets, including the Mirage 2000, the MiG-29 and the Jaguar fleet. “The acquisition of
36 Rafale aircraft in the next few years andan early decision on the indigenous fighter jet project will significantly enhance our operational capability,” he said.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said IAF is fully committed in supporting indigenous development of high-technology military equipment in consonance with the ‘Make in India’ programme. “The induction of the advanced light helicopter, Aakash surface-to-air guided weapons, air-to-air Astra missiles and air defence radars are some of the success stories of defence indigenisation,” he said. The Air Chief Marshal also conferred Vayu Sena Medal on a number of IAF personnel.