“IAF is always operationally ready for any contingencies. We remain prepared whilst we continuously enhance our capabilities to ensure a robust response when challenged.”
— Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, Chief of the Air Staff
This special annual issue of SP’s Aviation is dedicated to the Indian Air Force on account of their 89th anniversary and in acknowledgement of their contribution to national security. On October 8 this year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) that was established on this day in 1932 when the nation was under the British rule, celebrated its anniversary with great enthusiasm and fervour at all its stations, located across the country. This year it had special significance as it also marked the 50th anniversary of victory over Pakistan in the war to liberate Bangladesh in December 1971.
In his message to the IAF on this occasion, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind said, “The nation is proud of the Indian Air Force that has proved its competency and capability time and again during peace and war. I am sure the IAF will continue to maintain its cherished standards of excellence.” On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too sent his greetings to air warriors and their families and said, “The IAF is synonymous with courage, diligence and professionalism. They have distinguished themselves in defending the country and through their humanitarian spirit in times of challenges”.
This issue also carries a message from Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, Chief of the Air Staff, wherein he has laid emphasis on the philosophy of self-reliance which will undoubtedly be an imperative and an indispensable requirement for the future. This philosophy is also conveyed by him, in his first and exclusive interview, after taking over as the Chief of Air Staff, and published in this issue of the magazine. Alongside, we have reports on the IAF Day celebrations and the future outlook for the IAF in the magazine.
The issue of self-reliance in respect of production of aircraft and weapon systems for the IAF has been analysed by Vishal Thapar in this issue of the magazine. Apart from the sustained emphasis on the acquisition of modern combat platforms and weapon systems of the latest generation, it is also equally important for the IAF to focus on the acquisition of force multipliers. This is crucial for the enhancement and sustenance of the desired level of operational capability. A detailed analysis of this subject by Joseph Noronha figures in this issue of the magazine. Recent developments along the border with China indicate that the major challenge to security that the nation faces today as also in the future is and will be from the neighbour in the North. This issue of the magazine carries an in-depth analysis of this problem by Air Marshal Anil Chopra (Retd). In another article, by the same writer, he analyses the newly emerging threat from armed drones.
A major problem that confronts the IAF today and is likely to continue to plague the service, is the problem of acquisition of modern combat platforms to restore the strength of the fleet of fighter aircraft to 42 squadrons as authorised by the Government. This problem has been analysed in an article under in this issue of the magazine by Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd).
All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and we wish you many happy landings!