Festivity during the 73rd anniversary of the Indian Air Force in October was overshadowed by the concern over its depleting combat power. Obsolescence appears to be overtaking the IAF as several components of its combat and supporting assets are reaching the end of technical or calendar life and need replacement very soon.
Modernisation of the IAF involves acquisition of expensive capital equipment that has a life span of three to four decades. Acquisition of equipment for the IAF in the past has generally been characterised by slow decision making and complex procurement procedures leading to delays in the operational integration of the equipment with the organisation. The procurement process is long drawn and in the best case may take seven to ten years to fructify.
As such, plans drawn up today must remain valid in the decade of the twenties by which time changes in the operating environment could well render decisions of today irrelevant.
Modernisation plans must therefore take in to account the challenges of the evolving scenario in the geo-political, geo-strategic, technological and operational environment in the region and the world as these would impact on the role and responsibility of the IAF as also its shape and size. It is therefore necessary to reflect on the historical perspective of regional equations and visualise the scenario that is likely to prevail in the twenties before undertaking plans for modernisation of the IAF.
In the first half of the 20th century the world went through the convulsions of two major wars that apart from wreaking widespread death and destruction, divided the world in to two distinct camps hostile to each other and ushered in an era of cold war and global peace, essentially on account of a balance of power arising out of superpower rivalry. While the two superpowers maintained a balance of terror, conventional proxy wars continued to rage and were confined largely to the developing world.
These wars served the political and economic interests of the superpowers as they helped perpetuate strategic relationships and turn the wheels of the military industrial complex of the developed world. Emerging as a dismembered but independent nation in the middle of the 20th century, India inherited several thousand kilometres of land borders that had a potential for conflict whose origins lay in the flawed policies of the British Government.
The border between India and Tibet had been defined unilaterally by the British Government during their reign in India without any formal agreement with China who constantly maintained that in the first place, there was no need for a redefinition of borders as the traditional boundaries were well known and that there was no need to indulge in the exercise at all.
At no stage did the Chinese endorse or accept the British action with regard to the delineation of the border with Tibet.
The alignment of the traditional boundaries perceived by China were also not universally known except perhaps to the Chinese themselves. The unresolved legacy inherited from the past left an unwary nation traumatised in More than four decades later, efforts are now on to resolve the fundamental dispute and notwithstanding the inspiring rhetoric emanating from the political establishment of both India and China and the somewhat regimented bonhomie at the military outpost at Nathu La beamed on the visual media occasionally, the ground situation has not changed in favour of India.
In fact, in some ways it has indeed worsened as in the intervening years, the Chinese have only consolidated their gains of in Ladakh and are continuing to develop regions bordering Arunachal on a scale that cannot be justified for economic reasons alone.
China has played a key role in transforming Pakistan in to a nuclear weapon state, a step that has only accentuated the tension and served to complicate the security equations in the sub-continent.
It would be imprudent to believe that it is possible only through dialogue to alter the age old position held by China regarding the alignment of international borders between India and Tibet. But in the absence of any other option, the dialogue must continue. We ought not to ignore the fact that it is more important for us to come to an amicable settlement of the border dispute than it is for China.
As per a renowned Chinese leader, it may be desirable to shelve the problem for now and leave it to the future generations who may be wiser to find a solution. A politically weak position combined with a visibly weak military posture on our part therefore could seriously undermine the process of the ongoing dialogue as also impinge on the fragile relationship that we believe to have succeeded in building in the recent past.
Apart from the ongoing border dispute, the economic rivalry that is building up slowly but surely between the two of the fastest growing economies in the region, has the potential for conflict arising out of clash of vital interests.
While India aspires to emerge as a regional power, China is emerging as a global economic power house and her sights are set on superpower status. China acquired nuclear power status several years ahead of India to achieve a credible deterrent against a perceived threat from a superpower.
China has also successfully completed her second space mission and in the next decade and a half, is planning to despatch a manned mission to moon as also build a space station. Clearly, China is ahead in the race with India. Then there is the long standing relationship with Pakistan wherein apart from supply of conventional military equipment, China has played a key role in transforming Pakistan in to a nuclear weapon state, a step that has only accentuated the tension and served to complicate the security equations in the sub-continent.
On the western front, the status of Jammu and Kashmir, truly the only cause of conflict, is a legacy of the colonial past. In the wake of super-power rivalry, Britain was replaced in the region by the USA, and while Pakistan was drawn quite readily in to the American camp, India adopted a philosophy of non alignment opting for a diverse inventory of military equipment i.
British and French. However for strategic, economic and political reasons India had to subsequently lean heavily on the Soviet Union for military hardware to meet with the demands of national security. Even though formally not allied with the USSR, India was seen by the USA as being squarely in the Soviet camp and was treated with extreme suspicion and unconcealed disdain.Indian Air Force is continuing its support in fight against COVID wherein medical supplies are being transported to equip the State Governments and supporting agencies to combat the contagion effectively and efficiently.
In addition, AN aircraft yesterday, airlifted personnel and 3, kilograms of medical equipment of ICMR from Chennai to Bhubaneshwar for setting up of testing labs and facilities in Odisha. IAF has earmarked aircraft at nodal points to airlift medical supplies and equipment at short notice to proactively support operations against COVID Maldives has faced shortage of essential medical supplies as its connectivity with India- its main source of medical supplies was broken after COVID lockdown.
IAF has created nine quarantine facilities of personnel capacity each, at nodal IAF bases across the country. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Facebook Comments. Show More. Related Articles. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Check Also. Indian Air Force. Close Search for. Close Log In.Post a Comment. This assistance has been provided in the wake the Corona virus Covid 19 outbreak in China and the request by China to provide supplies such as masks and medical equipment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to President Xi Jinping on 8 February expressing the solidarity of the people of India and the Indian Government with the people and Government of China and also offered assistance to China in this hour of need as a gift.
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The Russian aircraft industry struggling to survive, was more than willing to sell modern aeroplanes and technology to China. And the booming Chinese economy could afford to import the best that was on offer. A visionary, long-term and time-bound approach to military modernisation, supported by a strong and innovative military-industrial capability has transformed the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force PLAAF of China, from an antiquated, derelict, poorly trained and over-sized force to a modern aerospace power with increasing proficiency to undertake its stated missions in the 21st Century.
The objective of Stride was to test the ability to move forces on a large-scale from the areas they had trained in to areas they were unfamiliar with. Another aim was to subject the massive rail, road and air infrastructure created over the years to heavy military movement pressure and examine if such pressure adversely affected civilian population.
China is determined in developing modern military aerospace capabilities. Having generated a certain quantum of expertise in the field, including learning from the designers, technicians and scientists imported from CIS countries where they had been rendered unemployed….
A deal with Russia saw the induction of Su fighters. China produced more than Js from onwards. The production of the J combat aircraft began in and are on order.
The H-6 bombers Tu Badger were converted into flight refuelling aircraft. Inthe PLAAF unveiled plans to acquire 70 Il transport aircraft and 30 Il tankers to significantly upgrade strategic airlift capability and offer extended range to the fighter force.Top 10 Militaries in the world - Most Powerful Military in the world - Military Ranking Country Wise
The PLAAF is also organising a combat air wing for a future aircraft carrier group, possibly based on the Su, which is a carrier capable variant of the Su Many existing fighters are being upgraded, some for night maritime strike role, permitting carriage of Russian weapons, including KhA anti-radiation cruise missile and KAB laser-guided munition. The Y-8 transport planes are being modified to undertake a variety of roles of Airborne Battlefield Command, AEW and intelligence gathering.
The interceptor role will be undertaken by the JF which is under production now in China.
Taking the Battle to the Skies: Who’s Got Better Fleet Strength, India or Pakistan?
The transport force will have Il, Il and Y-9 aircraft. China has a variety of helicopters and other aircraft to undertake specialist missions and routine tasks. With a fast developing C4ISR and its shift to joint operations, the Chinese military will be a formidable force to reckon with even by a well prepared adversary. In this process of modernisation the PLAAF has improved exponentially, though it has yet to be tested in actual operations.
Recently China unveiled its fifth generation fighter, the J which represents a significant step in the evolution of the Chinese aerospace industry. Having generated a certain quantum of expertise in the field, including learning from the designers, technicians and scientists imported from CIS countries where they had been rendered unemployed post the break-up of the Soviet Union, China invested significantly in the aerospace sector and the benefits are visible now.Copying or innovating their own capabilities are both valid pathways to this goal.
Different services prefer different styles, however. Unlike the U. The Rand Corp. For more newsletters click here. In it, researchers documented the restructuring of the PLAAF and the technological innovations the country is looking to develop as it cruises towards a possible confrontation with the United States.
The report added that the PLA tends to copy foreign military technology, organizational designs and operational concepts where it suits them, but is not incapable of innovating its own solutions when needed.
The Chinese military appears to be mirroring that with their own developments in the arenas of strategic intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; tactical and strategic airlift; and strike assets, according to Rand Corp. The report recommended that the U. Air Force strive to understand the advances China is making in those domains, as well as in space and within space-based satellite architectures. In addition, the Air Force should monitor a range of other PLA investments and changes, including in the realms of doctrine, organization, training, manpower, logistics, procurement and facilities.
A chart within the Rand report highlights areas in which the Chinese tend to copy the U. Air Force. In areas like bombers and precision strike, though, China exhibits much less similarity with U. In a similar vein, the U. China has not put significant money into space-based satellites for ballistic missile early warning like the U. More recently, China has begun to copy the U. Air Force on its aerial lift and refueling.
Until a few years ago, China did not have any political need to project power over great distances. That could be changing as the country shifts to protect investments in Africa and play a larger role abroad.
Like their U. The Rand report points to the need for U. Kyle is a staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the U. Kyle Rempfer. Thanks for signing up! Fear of missing out? Thanks for signing up. Ryan Pickrell, Business Insider.Air Marshal Chaudhary is a CA-A qualified with over 3, hours of flying experience in different kind of fighter aircrafts. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly.
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Comparison of the Air Force of India, China and Pakistan
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By 11 November, the air force command was officially formed  from the headquarters of Liu Yalou's 14th bingtuan which Witson translates as "Army". Much Soviet assistance was received to help the process along. The war also brought Soviet assistance for the indigenous aircraft industry. The withdrawal of Soviet aid due to the Sino-Soviet splitand the prioritization of the missile and nuclear weapon programscrippled the industry, which markedly declined through Development of the Shenyang J-8China's first indigenous fighter, was also initiated during the s.
The PLA Air Force underwent reorganization and streamlining as part of the reduction in force begun in Before the reorganization, the Air Force reportedly had four branches: air defenseground attackbombingand independent air regiments.
In war, control of the Air Force probably reverted to the regional commanders. In it was not clear how the reorganization and the incorporation of air support elements into the group armies affected air force organization.
The largest Air Force organizational unit was the divisionwhich consisted of 17, personnel in three regiments. A typical air defense regiment had three squadrons of three flights; each flight had three or four aircraft. The Air Force also hadair defense personnel who controlled about surface-to-air missile sites and over 16, AA guns. In addition, it had a large number of early-warningground-control-interceptand air-base radars manned by specialized troops organized into at least twenty-two independent regiments.
In the s the Air Force made serious efforts to raise the educational level and improve the training of its pilots. All new pilots were at least middle-school graduates. The time it took to train a qualified pilot capable of performing combat missions reportedly was reduced from four or five years to two years.
Training emphasized raising technical and tactical skills in individual pilots and participation in combined-arms operations. Flight safety also increased. In the Air Force had serious technological deficiencies — especially when compared with its principal threat, the Soviet Armed Forces — and had many needs that it could not satisfy. Some progress was made in aircraft design with the incorporation of Western avionics into the Chengdu J-7 and Shenyang J-8the development of refueling capabilities for the B-6D bomber and the A-5 attack fighter, increased aircraft all-weather capabilities, and the production of the HQ-2J high-altitude surface-to-air missile and the C air-to-ship missile.
Although the PLAAF received significant support from Western nations in the s when China was seen as a counterweight to Soviet power, this support ended in as a result of the Chinese crackdown on the Tiananmen protests of and the later collapse of the Soviet Union in After the fall of the USSRthe Russian Federation became China's principal arms supplier, to the extent that Chinese economic growth allowed Russia to sustain its aerospace industry. In the late s, the primary mission of the PLAAF was the defense of the mainland, and most aircraft were assigned to this role.
A smaller number of ground attack and bomber units were assigned to Air interdiction and possibly close air supportand some bomber units could be used for nuclear delivery.
The force had only limited military airlift and aerial reconnaissance capabilities. In the early s, the PLAAF began a program of modernization, motivated by the collapse of the Soviet Unionas well as the possibility of military conflict with the Republic of China and perhaps also involving the United States.
This process began with the acquisition of Sus in the early s and the development of various fourth-generation aircraft, including the domestic Jand the FC This resulted in a reduction of the overall number of aircraft in the PLAAF with a concurrent increase in quality of its air fleet. The 21st century has seen the continuation of the modernization program with China's huge economic growth.
Production of the J fighter began in with an estimated aircraft in service currently. In it announced plans to buy approximately 30 IL transport planes and 8 Il tanker planes, which would greatly increase its troop airlift capability and offer extended range to many aircraft, though as of this deal is still on hold.