Modernising To Meet Doctrinal Objectives Image Credit: Geopolitics
Modernising To Meet Doctrinal Objectives Image Credit: Geopolitics

Modernising To Meet Doctrinal Objectives

The Indian Air Force celebrating its 86th Anniversary in October 2018. It has grown in capability by leaps and bounds in the past decades and while it is somewhat smaller than its peak strength in the late 1980s, it is a much more capable force with the capacity to project Indian power beyond the nations borders. However, like the other armed services, it is in the throes of trying to match its modernisation efforts with resource constraints while simultaneously trying to achieve its doctrinal objectives, writes SANJAY BADRI-MAHARAJ

Sanjay Badri-Maharaj

The 2012 Basic Doctrine of the Indian Air Force speaks to the development of an air strategy that includes a capability to conduct a strategic air campaign alongside a counter-air campaign and a counter-surface force campaign. The latter would involve the use of air power against land and sea based targets while the former would focus on depleting an enemy’s ability to use its own air power against India. The IAF’s doctrine notes that the counter air campaign comprises two basic air operations; Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) better known in the IAF as Air Defence(AD) – in both cases, it is possible that a combination of missiles and aircraft might be so employed. Similarly, the strategic air campaign consists of conventional and nuclear operations, and the counter surface force campaign consists of air land and maritime air operations. Transport aircraft and most of the IAF’s helicopter assets would undertake air mobility operations that would form part of the combat enabling operations, moving supplies and troops as required.

Current State

The Indian Air Force has an effective strength of 31 combat squadrons. These include eleven squadrons of the Su30MKI, three ea

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