Talking to media persons at the Yelahanka Air Force Base in Karnataka, which is hosting the seventh Aero India show, he said activities related to upgrading technologies, modernizations and new inductions are taking place more rapidly than ever before in the Indian Air Force through the coordinated efforts of Indian and foreign aviation industry with the defence forces.
"The environment around India created the need for making Indian Air Force more credible by resorting to rapid modernization. The 'Aero India 2009' mirrored the environment in the air as there are many technology platforms on display compared to the Aero India 2007," Air Chief Marshal Major explained.
"This environment will drive the Indian aeroSpace industry to prosper in the coming years," he added.
He emphasized that air power is not just the ability to fight or bomb some places, but it lies in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capacities, which are being improved on a continuous basis.
In this regard, he said, India is already using unmanned ultra light flying machines and efforts are going on to make their payloads as effective as possible.
"Though the declining number of fighting squadrons is an issue, there is no need to get alarmed, as the reason behind it is inducting newer technologies and fighting capabilities, which makes the ability more important than sheer numbers," Air Chief Marshal Major further stated.
But coming to numbers, he said India will achieve the Government authorized figure of 39 and half squadrons from the current level of 34 which may even decline a bit due to phasing out and modernizing operations. The reason for this is long gestation period required to acquire new radars, aircraft, or platforms," he said.
Replying to questions on strategies post 26/11, Air Chief stated, there is no change in our strategies as we are prepared for all kinds of eventualities including the ones posed by such incidents at micro level. He said though there are gaps in covering entire country with radars, even now we can focus on even smaller places whenever we want.
"Currently, managing huge inventories is an issue due to the fact that we are using varied platforms, fighter planes and support system. When we bring this, hopefully in the next few years, we will use less than 4 or 5 main fighter planes and transport carriers, we can bring down the inventory levels and effectively manage it, "said Air Chief Marshal Major.
He admitted that several unused air strips pose a threat to country's security, but securing them is the responsibility of the respective state governments. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)