The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today said the Government remains committed to the modernisation of Indian Air Force. Inaugurating the Air Force Commanders` Conference here, Shri Antony said the Long Term Infrastructure Prospective Plan (LTIPP) clearly lays down the roadmap for the accretion plan of the IAF.
“The procurement and acquisitions span the entire spectrum of the capabilities of Indian Air Force including fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, helicopters and modernisation of air defence network. Net centricity, cyber security and ensuring the requisite communication bandwidth for seamless operations too are a part of capacity-building to ensure that Indian Air Force remains at the forefront of technology”, he said. The theme of the Conference is Enhancement of Op Infrastructure and Security.
Shri Antony said the long gestation periods of acquisitions, induction and operationalisation of these systems require that Indian Air Force upgrades its legacy systems and modern systems to retain and further strengthen its capabilities. He expressed satisfaction that the budget allotted to the Force has been fully utilised. Shri Antony said though availability of funds shall never be an issue, we need to strictly observe austerity measures circulated by the Ministry of Finance. `Efforts must be made to cut down expenditure on non-core activities and avoidable ceremonial formalities. At the same time, I am sure all of you appreciate the need for indigenisation and move towards self-reliance in defence production. We must minimise the over-reliance of our Armed Forces in general and Indian Air Force, in particular, on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for procurement of major aircraft and equipment`, he said.
Stressing on the importance of training on the growth of any organisation, Shri Antony said, the shortage of trainer aircraft has been an impediment in the training of aircrew. The induction of Basic Trainer, the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) and the Hawk Mk-132 (Advance Jet Trainer) will enable more meaningful training to the aircrew and also prepare the crew to handle complex avionics in modern aircraft. The skill levels of other Air Warriors too must be similarly developed to enable them to retain and sharpen the cutting edge of the operational capability, as well as adeptly handle other systems and structures in a net-centric environment.
Shri Antony said the increase in air traffic in Indian skies and the complexity of air platforms requires that we have a safe flying environment. Complementing the Indian Air Force for recording the lowest accident rate in its history in 2012-2013, Shri Antony said, still, you must strive to achieve a zero-accident rate, for even a single accident takes a toll of our men and equipment. Proactive measures, along with regular execution of coordinated safety drills at all levels would further enhance flight safety.
Addressing the Commanders, and commending them on the successful conduct of the lAF`s largest exercise, Exercise- ˜Live Wire™, the Air Chief said, “Though the year has been extremely busy and challenging but the fact that we handled these challenges competently must give us a fair amount of professional satisfaction”.
On the progress of various ongoing projects in Commands, he noted, “Our upgradation projects have to synchronise with our new operational inductions and we need to accord highest priority to these projects. He asked the Commanders to keep their focus on five priority areas – Op Capability, Op Security, Op Infrastructure, Op Resources as well as HRissues.