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Home / India News / 2007 / October 2007 / October 5, 2007
75-yr-old IAF wants to widen its horizon
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75-yr-old IAF wants to widen its horizon

The Indian Air Force (IAF), which has turned 75 years old, wants to expand its reach in future up to the South China Sea to secure the countrys energy needs, due to the changing global scenario.

New Delhi, Oct 5 : The Indian Air Force (IAF), which has turned 75 years old, wants to expand its 'reach' in future up to the South China Sea to secure the country's energy needs, due to the changing global scenario.

The IAF wants to have facilities that would help the force to operate away from homeland for purposes as varied as disaster relief operations and securing country's energy need, said Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal F H Major.

He said that with many significant changes taking place in our environment, roles and organization, the IAF is adapting to reorient itself to the country's expanding strategic boundaries.

The endeavour is to acquire long-reach aircraft, persistence, all weather precision, networked and space-enabled capabilities, he added.

Air Chief Marshal Major's reference of South China Sea indicates the growing concern about the security of the oil vessels passing through the crucial Strait of Malacca, due to the growing activity of non-state actors in the region.

He also said that the IAF wants out participate in the 2008-Red Flag Nellis joint exercise with the NATO forces, which is a 'highly regarded' air exercise in the world.

He said that the IAF had an enriching experience during the recently held multilateral naval exercise "Malabar" in the Bay of Bengal, where Jaguar aircraft of the IAF also took part.

The Red Flag exercises, held periodically at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in the US, since the Vietnam War, are very realistic aerial war games with the purpose to give pilots from the US, NATO and other allied countries an opportunity to practice and refine their skills for real combat situations.

The IAF has been regularly participating in joint air exercises with countries like the US, the UK and France. In 2005, IAF took part in one joint exercise with the US and in 2004, there were two joint exercises with the US Air Force.

In October 2006, Indian and British Air Force jointly participated in air exercise in Agra in India, followed by the recent joint exercise by the air forces of the two countries in UK this year.

The Chief of Air Staff today also said that the depleting force level, presently at 32 squadrons down from the authorised 39 and half squadrons, is a "cause of concern but not a cause of worry."

"Progress is noticeable in all fronts", he, however, added.

He disclosed that negotiations are on to acquire the fifth generation aircraft, which will be formalized "pretty soon." He added that indigenisation of key weapon system is essential as no country would provide their best weaponry to other country.

He said that purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), deployment of indigenously made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and induction of new Sukhoi fighter would help in bridging the 'gap', and would play a significant role in the country's plan to have a comprehensive air defence system.


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