IAF capability to get a boost from Rafale, S-400, Apache and Chinook: Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa

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New Delhi | Updated: Oct 08, 2018 5:01 PM

The acquisition of 36 French `Rafale’ fighter aircraft, S-400 missile systems from Russia, Apache attack helicopters and Chinook Heavy Lift helicopters from the US will add to the capability of Air Force, says top officer of IAF.

86th Air Force Day celebrations (Image: PTI)

Technologically evolving over eight decades, the acquisition of 36 French `Rafale’ fighter aircraft, S-400 missile systems from Russia, Apache attack helicopters and Chinook Heavy Lift helicopters from the US will add to the capability of Air Force, says top officer of the Indian Air Force.

On the occasion of the 86th Air Force Day celebrations, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said that “The IAF is committed to safeguard the Indian skies and has played a key role in providing assistance to the people of the country during any natural calamity. And in the 86 years of glorious past, the IAF has transformed into a modern and battle hardened Air Force with strategic reach.”

The chief said that the air force was in the process of acquiring new combat systems, upgrading and modernising the existing inventory of aircraft and weapon system, with an aim to equip them with the latest avionics and technology, in order to meet the present day requirements.

Updating on the ongoing upgrades of the existing fleets, Dhanoa said that the mid life up gradation of the Mirage-2000, MiG-29, and Jaguar fleet is already underway. The ongoing induction of the `Tejas’ Light Combat Aircraft, Spyder, MRSAM, and state of the air precision weapons are now part of the modern IAF.   Reportedly, the upgraded MiG-29 showcased its combat capabilities at Admapur Air Force Station last week.  With the upgrade, the MiG-29 is now capable to give befitting response in case there is a two-front war with China and Pakistan.

According to the chief the safety in the sky was of paramount importance and to minimize the accidents, the force has undertaken proactive measures to minimize the human errors by imparting the best training to the aircrew and technicians and prepare them to meet the challenges of operating the the new generation as well as the legacy aircraft and weapon system.

The service has also expanded bilateral and multi-lateral participation with forces of foreign countries including, the US, Russia, Israel, Singapore, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The IAF this year had also carried out the largest ever PAN IAF exercise `Gagan Shakti-2018’with an aim to practice real time co-ordination, deployment of forces, employment of air power in a realistic short intense battle scenario alongwith the Indian Army and the Navy.

The hallmark of the IAF Day was a scintillating air display by various aircraft at the Air Force Station Hindan in Ghaziabad.  The air display started with flag bearing sky divers of famous Akash Ganga Team, who jumped from an An-32 aircraft.  Flypast had Mi-17 V5 and Rudra helicopters, Dornier, C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft, Jaguar, Bison, MiG-29, Mirage-2000 and SU-30 MKI fighter aircraft.

 Dakota, Tiger Moth and Harvard of the IAF Vintage flight also participated.  Followed by Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)’s aerobatic display, the ambassadors of IAF Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT), comprising on nine Hawk 132 aircraft and the Helicopter aerobatics team, Sarang performed breath taking displays.

Along with the chief of the Indian Army Gen Bipin Rawat and the Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and various dignitaries and veterans participated in the celebrations.

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