Air Power
The IAF marked its 81st annual Raising Day parade with a spectacular air display

Air Power

At the 81st annual Raising Day parade of the Indian Air Force (IAF), amidst the celebrations, there was a hidden cautious note. In the words of Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, who described the air assets as both “expensive and scarce”, the primary resposibility would be the security of their equipment. “The safety and security of these (assets) is our prime responsibility. While ensuring their physical security is important, there is also an increasing need to ensure security of our vital communication and operational information networks,” he said. Admittedly, the past year has been the most challenging for the IAF, and also the most rewarding.

“We achieved the best aerospace safety record in IAF’s history during the last financial year,” stated the ACM proudly. He gave credit to the motivated air warriors for such an achievement. He also appreciated the efforts of the IAF personnel during the recent exercises. “Whether it was the execution of the coordinated day/night precision strike missions in front of the national leadership during ‘Ex Iron Fist’ or the sustained 24X7 operational missions undertaken during the Air Force level ‘Ex Live Wire’ in March-April this year – our proud air warriors performed with distinction,” he said.

The new inductions of the IAF also got their fair share of mention at the Air Force day parade. With the best aerospace safety record in hand, the ACM gave a worthy mention to those aircraft capable of performing various day and night operations whenever required. Mi-17 V5 and the C-130J aircraft, which are now fully operational, are undertaking various day and night operations. “While the V5 helicopters would be soon inducted to boost our air support effort for the anti-Naxal operations, the C-130J Special Ops aircraft has added significant value to our strategic airlift capability by landing at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBG), the highest Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in the world located at 16,600 feet,” he said. The historic landing of C-130J aircraft at DBO, the highest airstrip in the world, worked as a morale booster for the troops operating in the high altitude regions of the Indo-China border. Induction of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, which can also perform a wide range of operations, has extended the strategic airlift capabilities of the Air Force. The Hindon air force base is currently developing state-of-the-art infrastructure for the C-17 aircraft, four of which are currently delivered by Boeing. Pilatus PC-7 basic trainer aircraft (BTA) and advanced simulators are also inducted in to the force, which are addressing the training requirements for the trainee officers.
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