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My compliments to SP Guide Publications for informative and credible reportage on contemporary aerospace issues over the past six decades.

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Touching the sky with glory for 9 decades

With a theme of 'Transforming for the Future', the 90th Indian Air Force Day was celebrated outside the National Capital for the first time

October 10, 2022 By Ayushee Chaudhary Photo(s): By PIB, IAF/YouTube, Twitter/proshillong, Twitter/rajnathsingh
The President Droupadi Murmu, the Union Minister for Defence, Rajnath Singh and the Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari watching Air Display organised to commemorate Air Force Day 2022, in Chandigarh on October 8, 2022.

Reiterating its values of touching the sky with glory, the Indian Air Force celebrated nine glorious decades of grandeur. Marking the milestone of 90 years of serving the nation, the Indian Air Force (IAF) brought in celebrations physically as well as virtually on October 8, 2022. For the first time, the IAF Day was celebrated outside of Delhi-NCR, in Chandigarh. The Air Force Day of the fourth largest air force in the world was themed, IAF: Transforming for the Future. IAF also unveiled a new display picture on twitter.

In a break from tradition, the Air Force Day parade is being conducted at Chandigarh this year and in different locations across the country from here onwards, the Air Chief informed. "Today is an occasion to renew our allegiance to the Constitution of India and as preservers of the integrity and sovereignty of our country, we owe it to our future generations," he stated. This is in alignment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's advice of shifting the major events out of the national capital to various places across the country to enable more people to witness and engage in them.

The first ever look of the digitally camouflage uniform for the air force's ground personnel was unveiled by Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari.

The President, along with the Defence Minister and other dignitaries also attended the celebrations. "The nation is proud of IAF for bravely guarding our skies and rendering help during calamities," she tweeted.

As part of the event, the first ever look of the digitally camouflage uniform for the air force's ground personnel was unveiled by Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari. The new camouflage combat uniform finds similarities with the army's uniform. The digital pattern of the new uniform is all terrain friendly to let the personnel have the flexibility to move from deserts, mountains lands, woodlands and most of the regions across India's varied terrains. The uniform would further be customised as per the operating conditions of the IAF personnel.

A fleet of helicopter and transport aircrafts including all fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters in the IAF's inventory at present, took part in the fly past and demonstrations over the Sukhna lake of Chandigarh on Saturday afternoon. The IAF has over 1900 aircraft alongside 170,156 active personnel and 140,000 reserve personnel. Apart from the aircraft, paratroopers also performed during the celebrations and added colors to the sky. A drill, the ceremonial parade and march past by Air Force personnel also added to the fervour. Many made-in-India platforms also featured throughout the celebration, depicting "Atmanirbharta" including the recently inducted Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).

In a significant announcement, Air Chief Marshal informed that the central government will induct 3,000 air warriors, or Agniveer Vayu, including women into the air force this year. "IAF will induct 3,000 'Agniveer Vayu' for initial training in December through Agnipath scheme. It is an opportunity for us to harness the potential of India's youth and channelise it towards the service of the nation," he said. This number will only go up in the years to come to ensure adequate staffing.

"IAF will induct 3,000 'Agniveer Vayu' for initial training in December through Agnipath scheme," Air Chief Marshal.

The Air Force will also have an operational training methodology to ensure that each Agniveer is equipped with the right skills and knowledge to start a career in IAF, he added.

The parade saw introduction of a new digital pattern combat dress for IAF designed and Made In India & suited for the op environment

For the first time, an operational branch has also been created. "The central government has approved the creation of a weapon system branch for the officers of the Indian Air Force, which would save $410 million or 3,400 crore in flying training," the Chief added. The weapon system branch will essentially man the specialised streams of surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air-missiles, remotely piloted aircraft, and weapon system operators in twin and multi-crew aircraft.

During his address, Air Chief Marshal also underlined that having flexible, robust and redundant command and control structures that make way for a joint force to dominate across domains is the key to success in multi domain operations. "No single service can win a war on its own. Work is in progress to 'enhance jointness' among the three services," he said.

Indian Air Force Day 2022 fly past

From a continued deployment along borders to performing disaster relief operations and rescuing stranded Indians from conflict zones, it has been a whole spectrum of roles for the Services. He said the traditional domains of land, sea, and air have expanded to include space and cyberspace, forming a one continuum of hybrid warfare. The IAF chief noted that the advent of drones, swarm drones, hypersonic weapons, and space-based ISR systems has added a new dimension to war fighting.

The central government has approved the creation of a weapon system branch for IAF officers which would save 3,400 crore in flying training.

"To effectively handle the full spectrum, artificial intelligence is being used for a quicker decision making and analysis of big data. I am happy to report that several projects are well underway to utilise the potential of automation, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to transform our operational philosophy," he said.

On the eve of Air Force Day 2022, Chief of Defence Staff and the three Service Chiefs also laid wreaths at the National War Memorial, paying homage to those who made the supreme sacrifice in service of the nation.