December 15, 2017
logo
  • add
  • add
add1
Interview with Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa
IAF to get more fighters to arrest fleet depletion

Considering China’s aggressive military posture along LAC, how well prepared is Indian Air Force to protect India’s territory, sovereignty and integrity.
    The threat from PLAAF has been assessed and adequate counterforce capabilities are in place.

What are the plans of IAF if India faces a dual front war, with Pakistan and China.
    The IAF is prepared 24 x 7 for any threat and is ready for a befitting response to any contingency. The IAF has already proposed a roadmap to the MOD for induction of fighter aircraft to build up to the sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons and also modernisation. Augmenting the strength of our fighter squadron is our top priority. To achieve this, the IAF is looking at new inductions and mid-life upgrades. Towards this, MiG-29, Jaguar and Mirage-2000 aircraft are being upgraded in a phased manner to enhance their combat capability. Weapon shortfalls are being made good. The induction of fighter aircraft contracted for includes Light Combat Aircraft, Rafale and the balance of Su-30 MKI aircraft. Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) has also been granted for procurement of LCA Mk 1A. Further, the Government of India plans to procure fighter aircraft through the ‘Strategic Partnership’ model and other suitable options are also being considered to ensure that the IAF attains the authorised strength of fighter squadrons. If all the inductions take place as planned, the IAF is expected to achieve its authorised strength of fighter squadrons by the end of 15th Plan (2032).

Keeping in mind the volatile situation in Middle East and Afghanistan, what is the preparedness level of IAF to provide evacuation and similar support, if required.
    One of the tasks for the IAF is Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). Non-combatant evacuation from conflict zones is a task which the IAF trains for and performs. The IAF is always prepared and in readiness to provide speedy response to any such situation.

Russia has currently offered MiG-35 to India. What is the current status of this proposal.
    There is no proposal to acquire MiG-35 aircraft

What is the status of the FGFA project and what will be India’s workshare if all goes well with this ambitious project.
    The case for procurement of FGFA from Russia is with MoD.

IAF needs helicopters. What are the future plans regarding it. Will IAF go for more imports or will consider indigenous projects under ‘Make in India’.
    The IAF has undertaken major inductions in helicopter fleet in all classes. While Mi-17V5’s are operational, induction of Chinook and Apache will enhance operational capability significantly. The IAF has also inducted the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) WSI recently. Two other projects which have substantial indigenous content are the RSH (Ka 226T) and the LCH programme and both are at the RFP stage.


IAF’s squadron strength is depleting fast. What are IAF’s plans to prevent further downslide.
    The IAF is undertaking new inductions and mid-life upgrades to bolster the fighter squadron strength. The induction of contracted fighter aircraft includes Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Rafale and balance deliveries of Su-30 MKI aircraft already contracted. The MiG-29, Jaguar and Mirage-2000 aircraft are being upgraded in a phased manner. Acceptance of Necessity (AON) has also been granted for procurement of LCA Mk 1A. Further, IAF plans to procure fighter aircraft through the ‘Strategic Partnership’ model and other suitable options are also being considered to ensure that the IAF attains the authorised strength of fighter squadrons.

How do you see the growing significance of UAVs for modern IAF.
    Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) have provided a new dimension to the projection of air power and enhanced operational capability in the conventional and sub conventional domain. With the growing need for surveillance and reconnaissance, the necessity to procure additional RPA for the IAF is being progressed. IAF’s modernisation plan factors in sustained growth of the RPA fleet. The utilization of RPA is bound to increase in the near future as the capability increases.

What are IAF’s plan to increase and strengthen its ISR capabilities.
    ISR is one of the key areas. We are looking at enhancing ISR capabilities through Search and Rescue (SAR), Electro-Optical (EO)/ Infra Red (IR) payload on fighters and RPAs. The procurement of a dedicated ISR aircraft like the ISTAR is also being progressed. Space based surveillance is another area where there is lot of scope and we are moving ahead in that area also.

How IAF is planning to use cyberspace to enhance its military capabilities and what is the status of the proposed tri-service aerospace command.
    Dte of Ops (Space), Air HQ (VB) has been successful in co-ordinating with ISRO, DRDO and NTRO in effectively utilising the space based assets for meeting IAF operational requirement, Integrated Space Cell at HQ IDS, drives the joint space segment requirement of three services.