“WE ENDEAVOUR TO MAINTAIN OUR EDGE THROUGH MODERNIZATION AND ACQUISITION OF NEW SYSTEMS”
Geopolitics|October 2020
“WE ENDEAVOUR TO MAINTAIN OUR EDGE THROUGH MODERNIZATION AND ACQUISITION OF NEW SYSTEMS”
Commissioned into the Indian Air Force on June 15, 1980, AIR CHIEF MARSHAL RAKESH KUMAR SINGH BHADAURIA PVSM AVSM VM ADC took over as the 26th air chief Chief of the Air Staff on 30 September 2019. An alumnus of the prestigious National Defence Academy, he graduated with the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’. He has over 4270 hours of experience on 27 types of fighters as well as transport aircraft and holds the unique distinction of being an Experimental Test Pilot, a Cat 'A' Qualified Flying Instructor and a Pilot Attack Instructor. He completed his Masters in Defence Studies from Command and Staff College, Bangladesh. In a career, spanning almost four decades, the Air Chief Marshal has held a number of significant field and staff appointments which include Command of a front line Jaguar Squadron, Command of a premier Air Force Station in South-Western sector, Commanding Officer of Flight Test Squadron at Aircraft & System Testing Establishment and Chief Test Pilot as well as Project Director of National Flight Test Centre on Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. He was extensively involved in the initial prototype flight testing on the LCA. He has flown the Rafale while preparations were on to induct it into the IAF. While acknowledging that the IAF faces many challenges and that its procurement schemes are being prioritised within the budgetary resources to ensure that urgent and critical capabilities are acquired first, he assured PRAKASH NANDA that the Indian Air-Warriors are best in the business. Excerpts of the interview:
PRAKASH NANDA

How do you explain the gradual evolution of the Indian Air Force from being a tactical force to a strategic force, from being defense-oriented to the one aiming at air domination, from having the capability of meeting a single threat at one time to fight a two-front war simultaneously, from protecting territorial assets to guarding India's space assets?

Over the past 88 years, the IAF has evolved from a single unit of six Indians flying four fragile biplanes to a modern, combat effective, highly professional force which is also the fourth largest in the world.

Having successfully defended the country during various wars, the IAF was pressed into service during the Kargil operations and the more recent Balakot strikes. This marked a change in its employment from classic force on force employment to more proactive offensive roles with the ability to selectively address concealed targets in difficult terrain deep across the borders of the adversary.

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October 2020