''IAF HAS NOW GOT ASSETS THAT CAN CONTRIBUTE TO CREATING STRATEGIC IMPACT‘‘
Geopolitics|October 2021
MANMOHAN BAHADUR, a retired Air Vice Marshal, served in 114 Helicopter Unit as a Flying Officer in 1978-82 and as its Commanding Officer 1994-97. This unit is the lifeline for all Siachen operations and has a storybook full of valour and guts. In this in depth conversation he offers his perspective on the IAF and how we need to address issues in the years ahead
MANMOHAN BAHADUR

With your varied experience in the air Force, how would you assess our capability and resources in the 75th year of our independence?

Capability – has grown immensely – from a tactical air force in its fledgling years, the IAF has now got assets that can contribute to creating strategic effects. This is with reference to, not only offensive platforms, but also transport aircraft and helicopter fleets that have rendered yeoman service by projecting India’s soft power through HADR tasks and evacuation missions.

Resources – Over the years, the government has helped in the accretion of modern and contemporary assets in the transport and helicopter fleets to maintain the potency of IAF’s punch. That more can and could have been done, is a moot point when corelated with the financial health of the exchequer.It is also evident from the experience at Siachen (where you have served twice) and elsewhere that lesser equipment has not really impacted the quality or the delivery of critical services by the Air Force. For years, some of the helicopters flown were years past their obsolescence. Clearly the training and motivation is outstanding. Could you identify what makes for that extra edge?

IAF aircrew have implicit trust in their technicians who keep their mounts ‘flying fit.’ The technical staff is rendering yeoman service while working in very harsh conditions in the Siachen Glacier and other border regions. So, while the Chetak/Cheetah fleet is old, it must be remembered that any machine that is available on the flight line is fit to fly. Now comes the flying adeptness of aircrew – which, honed through rigorous training and efficient supervision, is second to none. There is also an Espirit de corps, so vividly seen in the flying being done over the Glacier by 114 HU (Siachen Pioneers) and Mi-17 Units.

How do you see the gradual evolution of the Indian air Force in the last few decades from a tactical force to a strategic force? and what is the role of helicopter assets in this transformation considering legacy obsolete machines continue to fly and new acquisitions and collaborations are still to fructify?

It must be remembered that the Cheetal (Cheetah re-engined with an ALH Dhruv engine) has replaced the old warhorse Cheetah in Siachen operations. That said, it is true that the Chetak/Cheetah fleet needs replacement. The Mi fleet has been luckier, with the venerable Mi-8 having been replaced with Mi-17 variants, the latest one being the Mi17V5.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GEOPOLITICSView All

INDIA SUCCESSFULLY TESTS NEW LONG-RANGE BOMB

An Indian Air Force(IAF) team and the Defence Research and Development organization (DRDO) has successfully flight-tested the country's first indigenously developed long-range bomb (LRB) from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet over Balasore in Odhisha in October.

1 min read
Geopolitics
November 2021

INDIA'S AGNI-5 ICBM OPERATIONALISED:ROAD TO AGNI-6 CLEARED

On October 27, India executed the final test flight of the Agni- 5 thermonuclear-capable ICBM (Intercontinental-range Ballistic Missile) from Dr. Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. The missile traveled almost 5000 km before splashing down into the Southern Indian Ocean.

2 mins read
Geopolitics
November 2021

PARAMILITARY MODERNISATION: AN URGENT NEED OF THE HOUR

At a time when the India is facing significant internal security threats both internally and externally, t is high time to reshape the strategic dynamics by modernising the paramilitary forces,

9 mins read
Geopolitics
November 2021

‘PRIVATE SECTOR HAS HUGE POTENTIAL IN INDIA'S AEROSPACE INDUSTRY'

This is an opportune moment for private players to make their presence felt. The DPSUs are beginning o outsource some of their work to MSMEs and private industry, but it is now high time for the industry to step into the big league, ays AIR CHIEF MARSHAL IVEK RAM CHAUDHARI VSM AVSM VM ADC in this exclusive interaction with geopolitics

3 mins read
Geopolitics
November 2021

“WE ARE PREPARED TO HANDLE A TWO-FRONT CONTINGENCY”

Newly appointed AIR CHIEF MARSHAL VIVEK RAM CHAUDHARI PVSM AVSM VM ADC is confident that the Indian Air Force is ready and prepared. The ACM has an air of relaxed confidence and a complete command of the issues that confront the IAF, as it stares down the Chinese both in the Eastern and Western sectors. As he explains during the annual press conference a few days before Air Force Day (October 8), there is a paradigm change in future warfare including the non-kinetic, non-lethal challenges. IAF has its own strategy in place to have directed-energy weapons, unmanned wingman among other futuristic technologies. He is confident that of the force’s offensive strike capabilities that have become even more potent with the induction of cutting-edge weapons. Below are the highlights of the interaction and the key issues he discussed at the event.

4 mins read
Geopolitics
October 2021

EMBRAER CAN HELP INDIA ACHIEVE GLOBAL EXPORTER STATUS

Embraer believes that India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India)’ campaigns are not only initiatives to boost Indian local industry, but are also eminent steps to make India a producer of critical technologies in the world, says Jackson schneider, President & CEO of Embraer Defense & Security in this exclusive conversation

5 mins read
Geopolitics
October 2021

''IAF HAS NOW GOT ASSETS THAT CAN CONTRIBUTE TO CREATING STRATEGIC IMPACT‘‘

MANMOHAN BAHADUR, a retired Air Vice Marshal, served in 114 Helicopter Unit as a Flying Officer in 1978-82 and as its Commanding Officer 1994-97. This unit is the lifeline for all Siachen operations and has a storybook full of valour and guts. In this in depth conversation he offers his perspective on the IAF and how we need to address issues in the years ahead

6 mins read
Geopolitics
October 2021

BOEING'S VERSATILE RELATIONSHIP WITH IAF

Surendra Ahuja, Managing Director, Boeing Defence India talks about the wide ranging and comprehensive relationship between the American aerospace giant and the country’s armed forces in this exclusive conversation

6 mins read
Geopolitics
October 2021

A 50 YEAR STRONG PARTNERSHIP

MBDA has a strong reputation as a reliable partner that has supported the Indian armed forces for over 50 years. Going forward, the company is committed to delivering the best of military equipment to the country, said Boris solomiac, MBDA General Delegate India

7 mins read
Geopolitics
October 2021

Aeronautics presents multi cross-action intelligence gathering capability

Aeronautics Group presented its multi cross-action operation intelligence gathering solutions, including the Orbiter 3 STUAS, Orbiter 4 STUAS, and Orbiter 1K Loitering Munition UAS, at DEFEA-2021.

2 mins read
Geopolitics
August 2021
RELATED STORIES

Love, Non-violence, and Truth

DR. PRAKASH TYAGI is the Executive Director of Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti (GRAVIS), an NGO dedicated to working in impoverished rural regions of India, including the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Bundelkhand. In part 1 of this interview with KASHISH KALWANI, he speaks about applying the Gandhian principles of love, non-violence, and truth to support communities in need.

6 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
December 2021

WISDOM FROM MY FATHER

The tempo 1 was ready to depart. It was a short 30-minute journey from Bhatkal to Uppunda, a sleepy village in coastal Karnataka, India. My father, sister, and I were traveling together.

4 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
December 2021

GM's Exit From India Hits a Roadblock

The long-delayed sale of its plants to a Chinese company faces local labor and political opposition

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Self- acceptance

ELIZABETH DENLEY has been a student of both science and spirituality all her life. Trained as a scientist, she turned her field of inquiry and research skills to the field of meditation and spirituality after starting the Heartfulness practices in the late 80s. Here she shares some thoughts on the importance of selfacceptance.

6 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
November 2021

The New Storytelling:We Are All Indigenous Global Citizens

WAKANYI HOFFMAN is a Global Education Specialist and founder of the African Folktales Project. In Part 2 of her interview with SARA BUBBER, Wakanyi shares the value of storytelling, passing down wisdom through generations, her Kikuyu culture, and how we are all indigenous global citizens.

7 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
November 2021

The Vaccine's Last Mile Problem

India is racing to vaccinate its villages, including many in remote and desperately poor areas where suspicion of the government’s motives runs deep

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 15, 2021

India's Fintech Boom

A government-backed system of digital payments has set offa wave of innovation

3 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 08, 2021

THE GAME CHANGER

INSIDE DHD’S RECORD-SETTING DURAMAX

2 mins read
Diesel World
November 2021

Building Community Through Education

KIRAN BIR SETHI is changing the experience of childhood in Indian cities through her education curriculum and initiatives to build healthy relationships between students and their communities. Here she is interviewed by KASHISH KALWANI.

10+ mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
September 2021

Granny Chic Galore!

A homeowner’s holiday décor is an homage to Christmas at her grandma’s house.

5 mins read
Cottages and Bungalows
FMD Christmas 21