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Need to reform, rebuild war fighting machinery to make them ready for future battlespace: IAF chief

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Pune: Future battlespace will be cluttered, congested, contested and complex, said Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari on Thursday, underscoring the need to reimagine, reform, redesign and rebuild the traditional war fighting machinery to adapt to this emerging paradigm.
He also tomorrow’s wars cannot be fought with imported weapons and it was imperative to develop indigenous weaponry, particularly air-launched weapons.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS) was delivering the General BC Joshi Memorial Lecture on Transformation of IAF into a Contemporary and Future Ready Aerospace Force’ here at the Savitribai Phule Pune University.
Chaudhari articulated the vision of the Indian Air Force as laid down in its latest edition of IAF’s doctrine (2023) – “to be an agile and adaptive air force that provides decisive aerospace power in the furtherance of the country’s national interest”.
To be able to achieve the vision, the IAF needs to “see first and see the farthest, reach first and reach the fastest, and hit first and hit the hardest”, he said.
The CAS highlighted the importance of acquiring state-of-the-art equipment and platforms to ensure air superiority in the region including airborne and unmanned platforms, sensors, communication and electronic warfare systems.
Chaudhari spoke about the significance of well-trained personnel and the complexities of a technology-driven battlespace.
He said investment in innovation and “disruptive” training programmes with a focus on technology infusion for skill development will prove to be decisive in future multi-domain operations.
The IAF chief also touched upon the steps taken by the force towards automating its operational, maintenance and administrative processes by employing Al (artificial intelligence) and big data analytics to improve efficiency.
The CAS spoke on IAF’s commitment towards fostering strategic partnerships with friendly nations through joint exercises, information sharing mechanisms and collaboration to imbibe best practices and enhance operational effectiveness.
Chaudhari said that the future battlespace would be “cluttered, congested, contested and complex” and that there was a definite imperative to “reimagine, reform, redesign and rebuild our traditional war fighting machinery to adapt to this emerging paradigm”.
He also brought out IAF’s contribution to nation-building highlighting the “sterling” role played by the force towards humanitarian assistance and disaster relief during natural calamities and evacuation of Indian diaspora from conflict zones.
The Air Force network has been upgraded and 5G handsets have been procured for all personnel and all airmen will be provided with these upgraded devices, he said.
“The biggest lesson to take away from the ongoing conflicts across the globe is that we cannot fight tomorrow’s wars with imported weapons. We have to develop indigenous weapons, particularly indigenous air launched weapons. This was the area where we were not progressing much but the thrust on atmanirbharta (self-reliance) is gaining ground and we are proud to host a whole lot of such weapons,” he said.
“The Air Force is the offensive arm of the nation. Ability to hit first, hit the hardest, hit the farthest with accuracy is something for which we have to continue homing our skills. We have seen the ongoing conflicts between Russia-Ukraine or Israel and Hamas. It is the Air Force which has delivered the punch with long range precision strike,” he pointed out.
The CAS underlined the need for integration, seamless collaboration and jointness between the three services to fight tomorrow’s war.
The Indian Air Force has remained steadfast in its view that integration and jointness is the only way ahead, he said, and reiterated the IAF’s unwavering commitment towards delivering joint capability and generating effective response options as part of a coherent national strategy.
Several initiatives in this pursuit like joint logistics nodes, inter-operability between the services, joint ISR and cross postings of officers were also highlighted during the lecture.

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