Interview | Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal D.C. Kumaria

‘On Completion, The IACCS Will Cover The Entire National Air Space’

Vice chief of air staff, Air Marshal D.C. Kumaria
Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal D.C. Kumaria

What is the latest on Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI)? What are its features? How many airfields will be covered and which global companies will assist the Indian Air Force in this project?
MAFI is a turnkey project awarded to M/s Tata Power Strategic Electronics Division (SED) to modernise navigational aids at 30 IAF airfields in the first phase. The remaining IAF airfields and those belonging to the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard will be factored in in the second phase. The project consists of three types of works: modernisation of the airfields; supply of mobile equipment and creation of a training facility at an IAF base. All the navigational aids have to be integrated into the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system for control and monitoring. Civil works to house the systems and a power and data grid will be a part of the integration process. The works services and installation of equipment are in progress and are likely to be completed by year end at the model base.

Tata Power (SED) is working on the MAFI project as lead Indian consortium with other domestic and foreign technology partners supporting as sub-contractors in order to fulfil the multi-disciplinary requirements of the project. Foreign suppliers include major global vendors such as Raytheon, USA; Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems, Norway; Moog Fernau, UK; MTech Systems, Australia; Terma, Denmark and IDMAN, Finland.


What is the status on Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) from Ladakh to the Northeast? How many exist now and how many disused ALGs have been activated? How many are planned to come by end of the 12th defence plan (2012-2017)?
There are many ALGs in the region between Ladakh to the Northeast. These are variously under the control of the IAF, Indian Army and the state governments. The disused/abandoned ALGs are being maintained presently by ‘Care and Maintenance’ units. Activation is carried out for conduct of IAF operations, as and when planned, by temporarily installing the required infrastructure. Towards this, mobile Air Traffic Control towers and mobile airfield lighting systems are being procured in the MAFI project. These will be utilised at ‘disused’ airfields during activation to adequately meet the operational requirements.


Are plans to have four Su-30MKI squadrons in Tezpur and Chhabua by 2015 on course?
The basing plan of fighter squadrons is a very dynamic process. The IAF is capable of having the required number of Su-30MKI squadrons in any part of the country on and as required basis.


What are the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for the Eastern Air Command (EAC) that will be available to the IAF by the end of 12th defence plan? Given the terrain limitations in this sector, what capabilities and infrastructure are expected to be raised there by 2017?
The IAF is in the process of undertaking capability-based modernisation. The allocation of assets in various sectors will depend to a large extent on the operational necessity, equipment capability and will be time specific. By the end of the 12th Plan, the IAF plans to establish a gap free three-dimensional air surveillance network in the EAC area of responsibility (AOR) that would include Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS), Su-30MKI aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), medium and high powered radars along with tactically located low level and mountain radars. Adequate ISR capabilities are also available with the IAF and these are routinely deployed in all sectors. The topography of EAC AOR and the lack of fibre optic network have imposed certain limitations in achieving desired levels of synergy between the IAF and Indian Army on air defence. Both services have initiated a number of steps to address this critical area. As mentioned earlier, the IAF in particular is inducting a variety of radars. Additionally, some AWACS are also slated to be permanently based in the EAC AOR. Each vulnerable areas/vulnerable points (VA/VP) will be provided layered and tiered air defence (AD) protection with new weapon systems. Networking of all sensors and centralised control of AD weapons are sought to be achieved through the operationalisation of IACCS node in EAC AOR in the second phase. All AD weapons of the IAF and IA are planned to be networked for effective control.

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