- The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been modernising its inventory as per its long-term perspective plan. The focus is on “Make in India” to give impetus to indigenous development and manufacturing, including participation of private sector in defence manufacturing. Modernisation process involves new inductions, as well as upgradation of the existing weapon platforms and support systems as a part of the capability build up.
- The on-going modernisation plan spans the entire spectrum of IAF’s capability including fighters, transport aircraft, helicopters, combat support assets and air defence network. Net centricity, cyber security and ensuring enhanced visibility of entire battle space for seamless operations are part of this capability build up. To maximise the operational potential, IAF is also creating modern and efficient operational and technical infrastructure.
Acquisitions & Upgrades
- LCA. Light combat aircraft Tejas is designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore. The Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) of LCA was achieved in December 2013. The first series production aircraft in IOC configuration was handed over to IAF in January 2015.
- Mirage-2000 Upgrade. IAF contracted for the upgrade of Mirage 2000 aircraft to advance standards of improved radar, avionics, electronic suite, weapons and a modern generation glass cockpit. On March 25, 2015, first upgraded aircraft was handed over to the IAF. The induction of the aircraft has added the much needed teeth to Air power and keeps the IAF ahead of its adversaries. This multirole fighter aircraft has achieved enhanced operational life. A Mirage 2000 carried out a landing on the Yamuna Expressway to showcase its operational capability, characterized by flexibility and speed of response.
- MiG-29 Upgrade. The series upgrade of MiG-29 aircraft is currently underway at Base Repair Depot.
- Rafale Aircraft. The Government has decided to procure 36 Rafaleaircraft through Inter Governmental agreement between the Indian and French Governments.
- C-17 GLOBE MASTER III. A contract for supply of ten C-17 aircraft was signed with the United States Government in June 2011 and was inducted into IAF in September 2013. During the year all the aircraft have been delivered and are operational in IAF.
- AN-32 Upgrade.AN-32 fleet was inducted into IAF between 1984 and 1991. Total Technical Life Extension (TTLE)/Re-Equipment (RE) project is concurrently underway at Kyiv, Ukraine and No.1 Base Repair Depot (BRD) at Kanpur. This project will extend the aircraft’s life by 15 years besides enhancing its operational potential and safety.
- Attack Helicopters. A contract was signed in September 2015 for procurement of state of the art AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. Their delivery would commence from July 2019. The Attack Helicopters are critical combat assets utilised for employment in Anti-Tank Guided Missile role, Counter Insurgency operations, Suppression of Enemy Air Defences, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle neutralization operations, Combat Search and Rescue operations and Low Intensity Conflict Operations. Attack helicopters offer unique offensive capability including support to Army Strike Corps and these capabilities are also required at high altitudes in the mountainous terrain on our Northern borders, not available hitherto.
- Heavy Lift Helicopters (HLH). A contract was signed in September 2015 for procurement of Chinook CH-47F (I) Heavy Lift Helicopters (HLH). The delivery of the helicopters will commence in a phased manner. The HLH are required to conduct strategic and tactical airlift missions in support of the armed forces and undertake humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions during calamities. HLH are critically required to support infrastructure build-up in mountainous regions. Heavy bridging and road construction equipment can be airlifted only by this class of helicopters.
- Pilatus Induction. Delivery of all Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) – PC-7 MK II from M/s Pilatus Aircraft Limited to IAF has been completed in October 2015 as per BTA procurement contract signed between Government of India and the Swiss company on May 24, 2012. Aircraft is currently in use for ab-initio pilot training. However, utilisation of aircraft is further planned to increase to Stage II flying training also. This state of art aircraft is helping newly recruited pilots to prepare for exacting requirement of combat flying.
- Microlight. A contract was signed in October 2015 with Pipistrel, Slovenia for supply of microlights. Delivery will commence from October 2016 onwards and will be completed by October 2020. It will be used in IAF for enhancement of flight safety by monitoring bird activity in the vicinity of airfields and directing bird controlling measures.
Air Defence Network
- Air Defence Radars -To strengthen the existing air defence radar cover over Indian airspace, variety of new sensors are being inducted in IAF. Recent inductions include the following:-
- MPR – Medium Power Radars from Israel have been inducted. These radars have replaced legacy radars of 80s’ technology.
- LLTR – To fill the low level radar gaps along the border, new Low Level Transportable Radars (LLTRs) are being inducted in IAF from M/s Thales, France with transfer of technology. M/s BEL will produce few of these state of the art radars in India. These radars are mobile and can be deployed anywhere as per operational requirements.
- LLLWR- Low Level Light Weight Radars (LLLWRs) are being inducted to provide electronic eye to our Mobile Observation Flights (MOF). These radars scan for low level aerial threats and provide extended early warning.
- Akash Missile System. IAF is in the process of inducting Akash Missile System (AMS) in its inventory. A formal induction ceremony of AMS was conducted on July 10, 2015 at Air Force Station Gwalior.
- Letter of Agreement for procurement of Harpoon Anti-ship operational missiles and associated equipment was signed in August 2010. Training of the aircrew has been completed for carriage and delivery of these weapons. Integration of these weapons would enhance the capability of the IAF in neutralizing threats emanating from the maritime domain and thereby be able to provide greater support to the
Indian Navy in its operations at sea.
- MICA Air to Air Missiles.The delivery of MICA air to air missiles for upgraded Mirage-2000 aircraft has commenced and these missiles will further increase the capability of the Mirage-2000 aircraft as a potent platform.
- SPICE-2000 Bombs. IAF has acquired precision guided bombs with increased accuracy and penetration for use against fortified and underground command centres. This weapon has been tested and its capabilities have been validated at an IAF firing range.
- Indigenous Pechora Combat Simulator (IPCS)
- Pechora missile system is one of the vital elements of Air Defence setup of IAF. The system was procured from Russia during the period from 1974 to 1989 to provide Air Defence cover to assets of national importance. It has been provided with simulators for conduct of training for the missile combat crew. Pechora system has out lived the life specified by the OEM. However, the system is to be deployed for extended operational utilisation in view of delay in new inductions. The extended utilisation of Pechora system is a challenge due to unreliable performance and lack of product support from the OEM.
- In order to facilitate extended utilisation IAF has indigenized the class room version Pechora combat simulator for training of combat crew. The simulator has been indigenized in-house at a cost of Rs 2.3 lacs against the cost of Rs 55 lacs quoted by the vendor. A certificate of excellence has been awarded for indigenisation of simulator on October 08, 2015 by the Prime Minister of India.
- India’s first Light Weight Multi-role Supersonic Combat Aircraft Tejas,a 4th
Generation-Plus contemporary fighter aircraft having recorded over 2500 flawless take offs and landings, demonstrated its might during the “Iron Fist”, a fire power Exercise.
- Award of ‘Certificate of Excellence’ by the Prime Minister. The importance & utility of current weather information lies in its currency and availability in real-time to operators and decision makers. To meet this requirement the Directorate of Meteorology has conceptualised and implemented the on line portal – Mausam on Line (MoL). The ultimate aim was to provide real time weather observation and forecasts to the commanders and operators towards efficient planning and execution of Air operations. Directorate of Met was awarded a Certificate for excellence in innovation by the Prime Minister on October 08, 2015 on the eve of 83rd Air Force Day celebrations.
Joint Planning and Operations
- Indo-US Joint Exercise “Yudh Abhyas”, Indo-UK Jt Ex “Ajeya Warrior”, India-China Jt Ex “Hand-in-Hand”, Indo-Thailand Jt trg “Ex Maitree”, Indo-Maldives combined Trg “Ex Ekuverian” are the joint exercises which have already been conducted by the Indian Army this year with friendly Foreign countries along with IAF air assets.
IAF In the Aid of Civil Authorities
Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) Operations
- Op Rahat. The Government of India assessed a requirement of immediate evacuation of over 4000 Indian nationals based at various locations in Yemen due the Civil War there. A combined MEA, IAF, Indian Navy and Air India evacuation plan was put into place for evacuation of Indian nationals. While Indian Naval ships evacuated nationals from Yemenese port cities to Djibouti and Air India ferried back nationals from Saana to Djibouti, IAF deployed three C-17 aircraft to ferry back Indian nationals from Djibouti to Kochi and Mumbai. A total of 11 evacuation trips were undertaken by IAF aircraft which facilitated safe evacuation of 2096 Indian nationals.
- Op Maitri On April 25, 2015 Nepal was struck by an earthquake. IAF launched its biggest ever Disaster Relief Operations in a foreign land to provide relief and support to the Government of Nepal. Total 1636 sorties, amounting to a total flying effort of 863 hours were made towards air evacuation of 780 casualties (including 121 foreign nationals) and rescue of 5188 personnel from various forward/earthquake affected areas.
- Helicopters. A total of 24 helicopters were deployed in the operations which involved a total flying effort of 1572 sorties in 741 hrs, evacuating 5188 victims, 780 casualties, induction of 1488 troops and airlift of 733 tonnes of relief & rehabilitation load.
- Flood Relief Operations in Myanmar. On August 06-07, 2015, IAF C-17 and C-130J aircraft were tasked by MoD to airlift 104 tons of relief material from Delhi to Kalay and Mandalay in Myanmar. C-17 and C-130J aircraft airlifted 48 tons and 10 tons load to Mandalay and Kalay respectively. Meanwhile, another C-17 aircraft was used to position 46 tons load at Guwahati; which was subsequently airlifted to Kalay by the C-130J aircraft in three shuttles.
Defence Cooperation with Foreign Countries
- As part of International Defence Cooperation, IAF is engaged with the Air Forces of various friendly foreign countries through Air Staff Talks, professional exchange visits, sports and cultural events.
- INDRADHANUSH-IV. As part of Indo-UK bi-lateral co-operation, Ex Indradhanush – IV was undertaken between July 21- 30, 2015 at RAF base Coningsby, Brize Norton and Honington. IAF contingent comprising of 190 personnel, participated in the exercise. The IAF assets comprised of Su-30MKI, C-130J, C-17, IL-78 aircraft and Garuds. The team demonstrated a high degree of efficiency & cooperation.
- Joint Military Training (JMT-15) with Republic of Singapore Air Force was conducted at AF Stn Kalaikunda from November 02-22, 2015. RSAF deployed 06 X F-16 C/D aircraft. Bilateral exercise with Su-30 MKI was conducted from November 23, 2015 for two weeks.
Empowerment & Welfare of Women
The Government has approved induction of women into the fighter stream thereby making them eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF. Women are selected as per uniform QRs at par with male counterparts. Further, uniform QRs are applied to both women and men Short Service Commissioned Officers for grant of Permanent Commission irrespective of gender. 348 women officers are holding permanent commission in the IAF as on November 15, 2015.