To sustain combat potential, IAF chief pitches for at least 5 squadrons of 4.5 genfighters
Indian Air Force Chief has insisted on the need to equip the IAF with five to six squadrons of 4.5-generation aircraft to sustain and augment the combat potential.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the immediate requirement at Jodhpur, where the IAF and French Air and Space Force (FASF) are participating in a bilateral exercise, “Garuda VII,” that will continue until November 12. The strength of the IAF has also shrunk to 30 squadrons instead of the 42 squadrons the government had sanctioned for combating China and Pakistan simultaneously.
“As per our air force requirement, it’s important for us to add 4.5-generation aircraft to our inventory. Definitely, we require 4.5-generation aircraft—five to six squadrons of these aircraft to meet immediate requirements,” IAF chief Chaudhari stressed. At the IAF Day last month too, Chaudhari had similarly pitched for the induction of 4.5-generation fighters, AWACS, AEW&C, and refuellers and stated that necessary steps have been initiated to ensure that squadron strength remains at the desired level. The IAF is believed to be awaiting a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) nod for the acquisition of one hundred and fourteen 4.5-generation fighter aircraft.
The IAF chief also stated that future conflicts anywhere in the globe will see air power play a very vital and critical role in deciding the outcomes. “We’ve learned how to carry forward our interoperability. The French Air Force also flies Rafale; we also fly Rafale, but we also fly many other aircraft along with Rafale. It’s important to learn how to interoperate with friendly nations,” he said.
At the exercise Garuda VII, IAF Chief Chaudhari and Chief of the Air Staff of FASF, General Stephane Mille flew aircraft. While Chaudhari flew an IAF Rafale fighter, the FASF Chief took a sortie in an IAF Su-30MKI fighter from Air Force Station Jodhpur.