Though the Indian Air Force (IAF) has undergone adequate modernising at exorbitant costs in terms of weapons and aircraft, it is essential to understand that even these are weather-sensitive. The outcome of any operation of the IAF depends on accurate weather forecasting, Air Marshal D. Kukreja, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, IAF, Bangalore, said here on Monday.
“The Air Force is called upon to execute various operations in different parts of the globe. To sustain such a force in the face of exigencies is very important,” he said.
The Air Marshal was inaugurating a two-week national training programme on “Concepts on Nowcasting and Meso-Scale Disturbances (CONMED 2011) at the Air Force Administrative College (AFAC). “The IAF needs to be operationally prepared throughout the year to fly over different terrains and in different weather conditions. This include altitudes as high as 15,000 ft at sub-zero temperatures to the extreme temperatures of the deserts in the West, the tropical forests of the East and the coastlines of the South,” the Air Marshal said.
Pointing out that the vulnerability of aviation to weather conditions was increasing, he said aviators had to learn to live with weather because they could not “wish it away”.
“Inaccurate forecasting leads to poor planning and this has a cascading effect that leads to calamities. It has to be understood that in the world of aviation, it is not enough to think of what is happening now, but what is going to happen in the next two to six hours. Such decisions are critical in adopting the extreme step of cancelling a flight,” Air Marshal Kukreja said. The life of an aviator was inexplicably linked to weather and that assumed larger proportions in the face of the growth of aviation, both in the military and civil sectors. Meteorologists should offer time-specific and place-specific forecasting solutions to carry out safer flying and mission accomplishment, he added. C. Swaminathan, Vice-Chancellor of Bharathiar University, said nowcasting referred to forecasting of weather conditions for the next six hours that included location-specific forecasts of thunder storms, storm initiation, its path and dissipation.
Air Vice-Marshal G.P. Sharma, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Meteorology), said the growth of meteorology had been closely related to aviation. Though technology had taken a giant leap in terms of numbers in civil aviation and complex technologies in military aviation, the vagaries of weather were common to both.
Air Commodore M.S.G. Menon, Commandant, AFAC, and Wg. Cdr. S.K. Bist, spoke. The training, organised by the Faculty of Meteorology of AFAC, in association with Bharathiar University and sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, will conclude on May 20.