منگل، 5 اکتوبر، 2010
50% of IAF equipment obsolete: IAF Chief
The Indian Air Force on Monday said that 50% of its systems and equipment were obsolete and steps were being taken to bring down the obsolescence levels in the next four to five years.
"The obsolescence percentage is 50%," Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said here adding that "by 2014-15, it would come down to 20%". The IAF chief was addressing his annual press conference on the Air Force Day held on October 8 every year.
Asked which was the most critical area for the force in this regard, Naik said, "Air Defence. That will be the only word." The Air Chief made it clear that even with 50% obsolete equipment, the IAF was capable of handling threats from the medium of air and space. "We are fully capable of defending the country from any threat."
At present, IAF relies mainly on its Russian-origin air defence systems such as the OSA-AK and Pechora and the shoulder-fired Igla missiles, which have been in service for over two decades. In the recent past, the IAF has been working on developing its air defence network and is looking to procure various systems in this regard.
It has already ordered for over six squadrons of the indigenously-made Akash air defence systems and the Spyder Medium-range Surface to Air Missile (MR-SAM) system from Israel along with aerostat radars to prevent any aerial attacks.
India's air force is just a third of the size of rival China's and far short of what is needed to meet the security challenges facing the country, he said.
In February, New Delhi announced a 32-billion-dollar defence budget, a four per cent increase on 2009, when spending was hiked by a quarter.
The Indian Air Force has also contracted 18 Spyder low-level quick reaction missile systems from Israel and is jointly developing a medium-range surface-to-air missile system with them.
The US agreement will see the Indian air force buy 10 C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, which are expected to replace the ageing fleet of Russian Ilyushin IL-76, India's The Economic Times newspaper reported recently.
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