New Delhi. 05 November 2021. The Space domain is likely to dominate the future strategic spectrum. Directorate of Ops (Space) of IAF has been successful in coordinating effectively with ISC, ISRO, DRDO, NTRO etc in utilizing space based assets to meet our operational requirements. Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhary PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC Chief of the Air Staff in an exclusive interview with Aviation & Defence Universe (ADU) , reiterated Indian Air Force’s commitment towards seamlessly integrating the output from space based assets towards improving its preparedness .
ADU. The “sub-conventional threat” at all fronts what is IAF doing to fill the deficit of jet fighter squadrons, transport aircraft, heavy lift choppers and drones? How is ‘Make in India’ being helpful in filling this deficit IAF is facing?
CAS. IAF has planned for a steady buildup of its fleet strength over the coming two decades. The plan caters to phasing out of older squadrons while retaining op-capability by timely induction of newer platforms. We are also well advanced in our plan to upgrade our legacy platforms like the MiG 29, Mirage 2000 and Jaguars to enhance their combat potential. Our mainstay is the Su-30 MKI, which we have been constantly upgrading over the years. A comprehensive mid life upgrade for this platform is also on the cards. We are exploring various options to make up our deficit in numbers.
ADU. What is the status of procurement of mid-air refuellers, VVIP helicopters, and the AMCA project?
CAS. Procurement of additional mid-air refuellers has been initiated through acquisition and leasing model which has been recently incorporated in DAP 2020. Towards leasing of FRA, several global contenders have shown interest in response to our RFI. The VVIP helicopter requirement is being met by employing suitably modified Mi-17 V5 helicopters. If the timelines are met for the AMCA programme, we hope to induct the first AMCA within a decade.
ADU. Has there been a positive effect on the IAF with MoD’s revision of the financial powers delegated to the services for revenue procurement? Have the capital procurement procedure committee report recommendations helped IAF to take decisions on capital procurement to meet their needs? Please explain with examples.
CAS. Yes, revision of financial powers has had a positive effect in reducing timelines for processing cases. After the implementation of Delegation of Financial Powers to Defence Services 2021, there is an upward revision of financial powers to field commanders. This will reduce the lead time for procurement of critical spares and improve operational capability.
For Capital procurements, Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 aims to increase transparency in defence acquisitions and to provide a level playing field for all parties. New provisions like indigenous content, promulgation of negative import list, leasing, Other Capital Procurement Procedures (OCPP) etc offer opportunities for capability enhancement and provides an impetus to indigenous design & development.
ADU. Has Indian Air Force been successful in operating the Integrated Space Cell to utilise more effectively the space-based assets of the country for military purposes?
CAS. The Space domain is likely to dominate the future strategic spectrum. Directorate of Ops (Space) of IAF has been successful in coordinating effectively with ISC, ISRO, DRDO, NTRO etc in utilizing space based assets to meet our operational requirements. The Defence Space Agency has been formed at the national level to bring about the required synergy for operational control of all space resources in achieving our national military objectives. In the space domain, IAF is working towards seamlessly integrating the output from space based assets into our intelligence matrix. We are utilizing considerable space based bandwidth towards maximizing our communication and networking capability.
ADU. How near are we to increasing permanent commissions for women officers in IAF? Also is their some plan to start recruiting ladies in non-officer cadre for technical, logistics and other branches?
CAS. Women officers have been granted PC in all branches of IAF. The proposal for induction of women in non-officer cadre is being evaluated taking into account factors such as administrative requirements, infrastructure, and employability. The IAF is a firm believer in gender neutrality and women empowerment. A total of 420 women Officers have been granted PC till date.