The current geopolitical situation necessitates the Indian Air Force to prepare for "short swift wars and long drawn standoffs" akin to the situation in eastern Ladakh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said on Thursday.
Addressing a seminar, he also called for focusing on operational logistics to deal with various security challenges and quoted famous military strategist Sun Tzu as saying very aptly that "the line between disorder and order lies in logistics."
"In the force, space and time continuum, there would be a need for us to prepare for short swift wars as well as be ready for a long drawn standoff akin to what we are seeing in eastern Ladakh," he said.
India and China have been locked in a bitter faceoff at certain friction points in eastern Ladakh for nearly two years though the two sides carried out disengagement of troops from a number of areas following a series of military and diplomatic talks.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said the recent experiences of the Indian Air Force (IAF) as well as evolving geopolitical scenario mandates it to be operationally and logistically responsive at all times.
"The current geopolitical situation necessitates the Indian Air Force to prepare for intense and small duration operations at a short notice. This new paradigm of high-intensity operations, coupled with minimal build-up time would require major changes in terms of operational logistics," he said.
Though he did not specifically elaborate on the geopolitical situation, the comments are seen as a reference to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its possible implications.
The IAF Chief said logistics support in such a scenario would be extremely challenging considering the fact that the force has a fairly vast and diversified inventory.
He said there will be a need to cater for "resources bridging" and transportation for such contingencies.
"A focused action plan needs to be developed for indigenisation of all critical components in order to achieve the nation's mandate of 'Atma-Nirbharta' (self-reliance)," he said.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said logistics have been identified as a critical tool for the nation's economic progress and one of the key drivers for ease of doing business and making Indian supply chains globally competitive.
He also noted that there would be a need to cater for resource bridging and transportation to deal with contingencies.
"Only a commander who understands logistics can push the military machine to the limits without risking a total breakdown," the IAF Chief said.
Therefore, logisticians of tomorrow must possess a scientific and analytical mindset in order to resolve complex problems of aerospace power sustenance and this edifice can only be built through a focus on training, he added.
He also pitched for formalising an "integrated road and rail management plan and exploring the feasibility of increased containerisation and use of civilian wide-bodied aircraft."
Highlighting various aspects of military preparedness, the IAF Chief observed that the way forward would be to have a serviceability-linked inventory management system.
"To address issues like availability of spares, I feel we need to re-evaluate demand forecasting methods and stocking philosophies. The way forward will be to have a serviceability-linked inventory management system," he said.
"Flexible stocking policies with modern forecasting techniques would help in demand sensing and prepositioning of items at bases. We must also review our procurement strategies in order to reduce lead time for supplies and preempt problems of supply chain obsolescence," the IAF Chief said.
India relies heavily on Russia for the supply of military hardware including spares.
There have been apprehensions in the military establishment about the possibility of inordinate delays in the supply of critical spares and other equipment by Russia in view of its conflict in Ukraine.
Air Chief marshal Chaudhary said to standardise logistical functions and provide a blueprint for the future, there was a need to look at a vision document for operational logistics that would define the foundational precincts of logistics support in the IAF during combat.
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