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Rafale jets, S-400 missiles will boost IAF's capabilities: Dhanoa

Press Trust of India  |  Hindon/Chennai (UP) 

The is "ever-prepared" to meet any contingency and the procurement of 36 jets and would enhance its operational capabilities, Marshal B S said on Monday as

In his address to IAF personnel at Hindon, the of the Air Staff said the force needs to maintain a constant vigil in the as "loss of in peacetime is not only expensive but also diminishes wartime capability".

The IAF has been grappling with incidents of accidents involving its frontline and military choppers in the last few years.

The Marshal said efforts are being made to minimize accidents caused by human error by providing best possible training to the air crew and technicians operating current generation of fighter jets as well as "legacy aircraft" and

"The IAF is ever prepared to meet any contingency that challenges the defence of our country. In the year gone by, IAF has continued to grow from strength to strength and achieved a number of operational milestones," said in his address on Day here.

He said it is the duty of the personnel to remain combat worthy and maintain operational for any contingency at a short notice.

"Acquisition of 36 aircraft, missiles systems, attack helicopters and heavy lift helicopters would further enhance our capabilities," he said.

The ongoing induction of state-of-the-art Tejas precision weapons is a part of the IAF's larger modernisation programme, he noted.

and last week signed the multi-billion air missile defence system deal. The deal to buy jets was signed with in 2016.

had last week termed the procurement of the 36 Rafale jets, the deal which is currently mired in controversy, and as the much needed "booster shots" to the Air Force.

Speaking on 'Gaganshakti', the IAF drill that saw a mobilisation of 1,4000 officers and 14,000 personnel, Dhanoa said it showcased the operational capability and readiness of the force.

During the exercise, more than 11,000 sorties were flown, including approximately 9,000 sorties by fighter aircraft, he said.

Elucidating on the role of Air Force in peacetime operations, he said during the floods this year, 23 and 25 helicopters of the IAF were pressed into the service.

The IAF also provided timely assistance in fighting forest fires in Theni (Tamil Nadu), Katra (Jammu and Kashmir), Pathankot (Punjab), Kasuli (Himachal Pradesh) and even urban fires in Delhi, he noted.

"In addition, airlifting relief material to and Indonesia, fire fighting on an Indian Merchant Ship and CASEVAC of pilgrims stranded at Kailash Mansarovar and Amarnath Yatra were also carried out," Dhanoa said.

The IAF, he said, has been actively supporting the government's initiatives for growth of regional air connectivity under the 'UDAAN' scheme. Forty-five new routes have been cleared through military airspaces while 33 defence airfields have been opened for joint use to accommodate civilian flights, he added.

An impressive aerial acrobatic show by the IAF's frontline fighter jets and choppers were also on display at the airbase.

In the evening, Dhanoa hosted an 'At Home' event at his official residence which was attended by Narendra Modi, Nirmala Sitharaman, former Manmohan Singh, Gen. and

In a special gesture, the IAF chief also invited his drill trainers at the to the 'At Home'.

The 86th was also celebrated at various bases of the force across the country including at the air force stations at Tambaram, near Chennai and in Thanjavur.

Celebrations were also organised at air force station in Chandigarh and bases in nearby areas.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, October 08 2018. 20:51 IST