IAF will have around 35 fighter squadrons by next decade, he says
A two-finger test was not done in the case involving a lady officer in Coimbatore, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal (ACM) V.R. Chaudhari said on Tuesday.
“IAF law is very strict on any such incidents…. it was misreported. Actual fact is this test was not done. All disciplinary action that comes from this enquiry will be taken,” he asserted at the annual press conference ahead of Air Force Day on October 8.
In a First Information Report (FIR) registered on September 20 in Coimbatore, the woman officer alleged that she was raped by a Flight Lieutenant under the influence of alcohol on September 10 and that she was subjected to a two-finger test at the Air Force Hospital later.
Talking of force modernisation, he stated that the Indian Air Force should have around 35 fighter squadrons by the next decade in view of the phasing out of old aircraft and induction of new ones.
On the possibility of a two-front war with China and Pakistan, he remarked that their only concern was “dissemination of western tactics and weapons from Pakistan to China. “Otherwise we are prepared to handle a two-front threat… ”.
Asked about the delivery of the S-400 air defence systems by Russia, he noted that the delivery was on track. “The first regiment should be inducted within this year.”
Indigenous fighter programmes
ACM Chaudhari, who took over on September 30, observed that the IAF planned to retire the remaining four MiG-21 squadrons in the next 3-4 years. He outlined a series of indigenous fighter programmes, beginning with the 83 Light Combat Tejas-Mk1A already contracted and the LCA-Mk2 and the fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), both of which are under development.
On China’s continued military and infrastructure build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), he pointed out that China continued its deployment at three airbases in the Tibet region. “We’re fully prepared to deal with any situation. We need to keep in mind that while they have built airfields and hardened their shelters, they have the huge penalty of high altitude. That will be a weak area for them.”
The Air Chief pointed to the Air Force’s full commitment to integration. The joint planning and execution of operations by the three Services would result in a maximum increase in the net combat capability, he highlighted.
On formation of integrated theatre commands, he reiterated, “Theatreisation needs to be done keeping in mind future warfare. Should be synchronised. Doctrines and strength of each service need to be kept in mind.”
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