|Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari|
While diplomatic and military talks call for a full withdrawal from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Chinese Air Force is steadily expanding its presence over eastern Ladakh. The next round of talks between the two countries’ military chiefs is anticipated to take place soon.
Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari of the Indian Air Force said that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force is still present at three air bases on their side of the LAC. “On our side, however, we are fully deployed and prepared,” the IAF Chief stated.
He stated unequivocally that China’s capabilities to conduct many high-altitude missions will remain limited, and that the IAF is unconcerned about the danger.
Speaking ahead of the 89th IAF Day, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari stated that the recent addition of Rafale planes, Apache helicopters, and Chinook helicopters has considerably increased the IAF’s combat capability. “The IAF is developing new combat systems to maintain a competitive advantage over our enemies. In addition, we will get S400 air defense missile systems by the end of this month “According to the IAF’s commander.
Even as he expressed confidence in the IAF’s capacity, the air chief stated that the IAF will not be able to attain 42 squadron strength in the next 10-15 years under the current acquisition strategy.
Despite the addition of Rafale and LCA Tejas squadrons, the IAF now has 31 combat jet squadrons. The authorized strength is 42 squadrons, which the IAF has never exceeded. In the early 1990s, the highest figure attained was 39.5. Furthermore, the IAF intends to retire four MiG 21 squadrons within the next three to four years.
The IAF is counting on 83 TEJAS MK-1As, as well as the TEJAS MK-2, which is now in development. In addition, the DRDO is working on an indigenous fifth-generation advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA), which is not projected to be ready before 2032. The IAF has also issued a tender for 114 fighter planes and is awaiting government permission before proceeding with the purchase plan.
Concerning the theaterisation of armed forces, the air chief stated that the IAF is completely dedicated to integration and jointness in order to prepare for future combat. “However, the strength and doctrines of each service must be considered,” Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said, adding that the talks and discussions will continue.