New Delhi,UPDATED: October 3, 2023 15:23 IST
Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, during the annual press conference, said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) had signed a contract for 83 Mark 1A light combat aircraft (LCA). He further stated that the IAF wants 97 additional aircraft for India have 180 LCA Mark 1A. “The total value of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ contracts would be nearly Rs 2.5-3 lakh crore,” the Air Chief Marshal said.
He said that of the five S-400 defense systems for which our contract was, three have been delivered. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhuri said the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has posed an obstacle in the delivery of the remaining system, adding that he is confident that the target will be achieved within a year. “We are also using indigenous Project Kusha for long-range air defense systems,” he added.
“We will stop flying the MiG-21 fighter jet and it will be replaced by the LCA Tejas in 2025. Also, within a month or so, one MiG-21 squadron will be numbered and the last one after that,” the Marshal said. air chief
He further said that the IAF is constantly monitoring the situation across borders through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. “Our operational plans are dynamic and change according to the developing situation. In places where we cannot counter in numerical terms, we will do so through better tactics. We continue to review our ISR plans according to the inputs,” he added.
“The situation remains as it was a year earlier. Despite withdrawals in some, we never completely disengaged. We remain deployed,” the IAF chief said about the border situation between India and China.
He said that China and Pakistan are transferring technology to each other. “Pakistan is manufacturing JF-17 fighter jets and also inducting the J-10. We are keeping an eye on the developments between these two countries,” the Air Chief Marshal said about the China-Pakistan joint venture.
He further said that the partnership between Turkey and Pakistan is also being watched as Islamabad is taking away a lot of equipment from the former. “They are also conducting joint exercises. It is not for me to decide how to counter their partnership. We also have a strong partnership with our partners,” the IAF chief added.
Speaking about China’s deployment of radars near Mansarovar in Chinese-controlled areas, the Air Chief Marshal said: “We are considering installing long-range mountain radars to see equally deep into the adversary’s territory.”
Referring to the structure of theater commands, he said that it must correspond to the demands of their threat perception and “not another model.”
The IAF chief also spoke about the Agnipath Plan and said that it has provided a new opportunity to review the training philosophy of the IAF. “We had to take 50 hours of English learning and now we realize that 80 per cent of the cadets do not need to do it. We have also updated their skills and they will be ready for future upgrades,” the Air Chief Marshal added.