Jun 28, 2011, THE TIMES OF INDIA
ALLAHABAD: The induction of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will enhance the capability of the Indian Air Force which will be procuring the 5th generation fighters by 2017 and by 2027. The country will then have 42 to 45 squadrons as compared to present 34 squadrons, said Chief of Air Staff, Indian Air force, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik. He was speaking to the media here on Tuesday.
The Air Chief Marshal said the IAF would be continuing with its non-offensive role in the Naxal operations. On the question of the proposed post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Naik said he was not opposed to the post of CDS, but its pros and cons should be looked into and we should see why it is needed and what kind of model will it be based on.
On the issue of proposal of IAF taking control of Hindustan Aeronautical Limited, the Chief Marshal said the IAF will not take over the setup but has proposed deputing an officer of the rank of Air Marshal to supervise the operations and enhance the efficiency of HAL.
About conferring the rank of honorary Group Captain on cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Naik said the Little Master is an icon for the youth.
"The regional and global geopolitical dynamics are changing rapidly and this calls for greater vigil and preparation by the defence forces to neutralise a variety of security challenges," Naik said. The IAF is alive to the changing threat scenario and is fast emerging as a strategic aerospace force, capable of addressing our security concerns, he added. "Our response mechanisms are being upgraded constantly, through the induction of cutting-edge technologies and training of our personnel. I would like to assure the nation that the Indian Air Force is ever-ready to meet any challenge that may come our way," the Air Chief said.
Praising the role of the Central Air Command (CAC), Naik said, "CAC is an important bastion of the IAF and is in a state of continuous action. The command is home to some of our most vital strategic assets and has a force-blend capable of achieving any given objectives. The induction of AWACS, AAR and some of the latest aircraft and responsibility has significantly enhanced our capabilities." He also complimented all personnel working at various units under CAC for the excellent work they are doing in service of the nation.