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With reference to Ajai Shukla’s piece, “Five steps to a viable air force” (October 10), India has to create a modern 33-squadron Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet by 2025. The binding terms of reference for long-term modernisation dictate that the IAF can at the most get 40 per cent outlay of the defence budget’s “capital” head outlay.
This will work out to an average annual fund allotment of Rs 40,000 crore. The crux of the challenge lies in generating maximum bang for the buck.A few urgent steps needed are:
- Cut down the time for getting approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security to six months.
- Building up the IAF’s aircraft inventory to only three types of aircraft, viz 10 squadrons of Rafale twin-engine deep penetration strike aircraft, 13 squadrons of Sukhoi MKI air superiority fighter (ASF) and 10 squadrons of Tejas LCA MK1A short penetration strike aircraft.
- The IAF should switch to composite strike squadrons, with each flight having a mix of two electronic warfare and enemy defence blinding aircraft, three strike aircraft and two ASF.
- The IAF should spend Rs 8,000 crore annually for research and development in upgrade, avionics and New Aircraft Development Consortium Partnerships.
J K Achuthan, Thiruvananthapuram Letters can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to: The Editor, Business Standard Nehru House, 4 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg New Delhi 110 002 Fax: (011) 23720201 · E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org All letters must have a postal address and telephone number