It needs monitoring and vigil by the force

Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, on Saturday said the security situation in the neighbourhood needed monitoring and vigil by the force.

“The present security situation in our neighbourhood remains extremely fragile and it is a matter of serious concern. We need to be vigilant and prepared…need to develop a security mindset which encompasses physical security of our assets on the one hand and security of vital communications and operations network on the other,” the Air Chief said at the 79th Air Force Day parade here.

In order to meet the challenges of the future the IAF Chief had earlier said that the force was preparing to perform any role that was required to serve the country's strategic interest. He, however, clarified that the role envisaged was not meant to be expeditionary or to fight others' wars.

Addressing the IAF after reviewing an impressive parade at the Hindon air base, he noted that the IAF was moving swiftly on the path of modernisation and that the top echelons were aware of the technological and maintenance challenges that come with it.

“Our efforts are therefore focused on enhancing reliability and maintainability of our assets. Our focus is also on upgrading our infrastructure in a phased manner. Besides the Modernisation of Air Field Infrastructure or the MAFI Project, setting up of requisite operational support infrastructure for the new inductions will always remain a high priority,'' he said.

While upgrading the technical capability of the machines, the Air Chief underscored the importance of training the personnel in the latest acquisitions and reiterated the need for seniors to be mentors in the process.

Later, talking to journalists, he said, the IAF would put in place a comprehensive radar system in the mountains and other places to plug gaps and deploy fighter aircraft in metro cities for swift response to any possible threat.

He said the IAF had drawn up plans to shore up the air defence in all important metros starting from the capital including deploying radars, early warning systems, missiles and airborne combat aircraft.

The Hindon air force station, on the eastern outskirts of Delhi, was once a fighter base and could well be reactivated. Currently the IAF has stationed the C130J Super Hercules all-weather special operations transport aircraft, which was recently deployed for moving men and material for carrying out relief work in Sikkim. Air Chief Marshal Browne said the commercial bids for the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft would be opened in 10 days.

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