Dismissing the need to put any plans on fast track after 26/11, the Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major said that IAF did not have to do so as the force structuring and weapons catered to all spectrum of needs. The IAF needs the best and is on a large-scale modernization drive. This is being backed with very good government support told the Air Chief speaking to media on the sidelines of the ongoing Aero India 09, at Yehalanka, Bengaluru, today. A lot of hard work within the IAF and with aviation-related agencies from within the country and vendors from other countries is on towards the modernization process, he added.
"Economically the defence-related industries, specially the aerospace industries, both civil and military will continue to bloom', he told commenting on the successful start of the Aero India 09 that got underway on Wednesday. Replying to a query whether with the phasing-out of the Mig-25 the IAF reconnaissance needs were affected, the Air Chief clarified that the role of ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) was a part and parcel of any Air Force and that the IAF has it. He also stated that there are better and efficient ways of getting ISR.
He also informed that the uses of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) are going to increase and IAF is in the process of expanding its UAV fleet. Regarding the declining fighter squadron strength the Air Chief stated that gestation period to acquire aircraft and missile systems is much more than any other weapon platform. However without losing the combat edge against likely adversaries the squadron strength envisaged by 2017 is 34 squadrons and the remaining strength to be achieved by 2020.
Talking on the issue of operational data linking and networking through fibre optics, he said that the AFNET (Air Force Net) was already progressing very well. The IAF already has an Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) in place, he said. Maintaining the large inventory of equipment and logistics in the IAF was a challenge and towards this IMMOLS (Integrated Materials Management Online Services) is fully operational, he stated.