India — IAF Modernisation On Fast Track

The IAF will start induct­ing the recent­ly pur­chased Pila­tus train­er air­craft from Jan­u­ary 2013 at the rate of two air­craft per month.

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By July 2013, the IAF will have induct­ed 14 train­er air­craft from Switzer­land. To keep pace with rapid mod­erni­sa­tion, the IAF will start induct­ing the first batch of the train­er air­craft from July 2013. The IAF will be send­ing it’s pilots and tech­ni­cal staff to Switzer­land for train­ing on Pila­tus-PC 7 by this year end.

Air Chief Mar­shal Nor­man Anil Kumar Browne, the Chief of the Air Staff, said that the mod­erni­sa­tion of the IAF had been lit­er­al­ly been put on the fast track. In the fast induc­tion mode, the IAF in the com­ing years will induct state-of-the-art air­craft, includ­ing 75 Swiss Pila­tus PC‑7 basic train­ers, Medi­um Mul­ti-Role Com­bat Air­craft (MMRCA), ultra-mod­ern sim­u­la­tors, advanced weapon and com­bat sup­port sys­tem.

The IAF is also in the process of upgrad­ing train­ing com­mand cen­tres like the Air Force Acad­e­my at Dundi­gal. Also the famous Surya Kiran aer­o­bat­ic team that per­forms dar­ing air maneu­vers will now per­form dar­ing stunts on the Hawk air­craft. Soon the total strength of the Hawk air­craft in the IAF’s inven­to­ry will increase from the cur­rent 66 to 106. A deal in this regard to pur­chase addi­tion­al 40 air­craft will be signed ear­ly next year by the IAF.

One of main addi­tions include increas­ing the com­bat air­craft squadron to 42 in the com­ing years. The total upgrade of the entire IAF fleet will be com­plet­ed with­in the next decade.

All deals signed dur­ing the 11th five year plan will be exe­cut­ed by 2017. The much talked about MMRCA deal in which the IAF will be induct­ing 126 state-of-the-art Rafale fight­er jet will also be exe­cut­ed on time. The air force will begin induct­ing the Rafale by 2016. The first 18 jets will be pur­chased off the shelf from the French and the remain­ing 108 will be man­u­fac­tured in India by HAL. All of the 108 air­crafts will be man­u­fac­tured and deliv­ered to the IAF by 2023.


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