The Indian Air Force is leaving no stone unturned to ace its upgrade game. As the force waits for the first batch of most advanced Rafale combat jets, there are plans in place to overhaul the aging fleet. Addressing an event in New Delhi on Tuesday, IAF Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said that, “We can't wait for indigenous technology to replace obsolete warfighting equipment, neither will it be prudent to import every defence equipment from abroad. What we're doing is replacing our high-end obsolete weapons with indigenously developed ones.”
Dhanoa’s comment comes at a time when there are reports coming in that the IAF is inviting fresh bid for supply of spares to improve the situation of the existing planes in the squadron. An IANS report said that the IAF has invited bids ‘from the vendors for spares which will go into the maintenance of ageing Mig-21s, newer Mirage-2000s and Su-30s.’
At the Tuesday event, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also lauded the IAF and said that, “Indian Air Force is a technologically advanced and extremely potent force, the recent offensive strike against terrorist outfits in our neighbourhood speaks volumes about the reach and lethality of the formidable arm of the Indian Armed Forces.”
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force has finalised a raft of purchases worth Rs 7,500 crore including missiles, precision guided bombs and latest avionics in the last two months, official sources said Monday. The purchases included procurement of a batch of air-to-air missiles from Russia at a cost of around Rs 1,000 crore to make the Sukhoi fighter fleet of the IAF more lethal, they said. Last month, the government signed a Rs 300 crore deal with a Israeli defence firm to procure a batch of SPICE 2000 guided bombs. The IAF had used SPICE bombs in its strikes on a terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26.
Sources said the government had carried out a review of the IAF's February 26 air strikes deep inside Pakistan's Balakot and the consensus was that the adversary would not have dared to retaliate the next day if India possessed superior air defence system as well as strike capability. In this context, the government decided to take a series of steps to bolster the IAF's overall combat capability, they said.