Budget cut will affect IAF’s modernization: Air chief

TNN

Chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has said that the recent decision of the Union government to curtail defence budget by Rs 10,000 crore will affect various developmental and modernization projects of Indian Air Force. “We will take up the issue with the government in order to work out some solution,” said Browne.

Addressing media persons here, Browne said that the IAF is on a modernization spree on various fronts and this all has been possible due to generous sanctioning of the budget by the government and its full utilization. “We look forward to complete modernization of the IAF by 2022,” he said adding that the pace of this will be affected by the curtailment.

Browne was on a visit to Phalodi Air Force Station near Jodhpur on Monday, where he inducted the 5th helicopter squadron of the upgraded MI-17 V5, a medium-lift helicopter.

The 6th unit of this helicopter will be deployed under Eastern Command at Hashimara station in Assam. “A contract has been signed for 59 more such helicopters,” he said.

The squadron will initially operate with 10 helicopters. A squadron’s full strength is 16-18 helicopters. “These choppers fall in the armed helicopter category with substantial and effective firepower and with the latest and more powerful engines that will greatly enhance their payload carriage capability,” a defence official said. The Mi-17V5 is an upgraded version of the Mi-17 medium-lift helicopter. It is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and navigation systems and weather radar and is compatible with the latest-generation night vision goggles.

Describing Phalodi station as of very high tactical and strategic importance, considering its location on western border, he said that the station is being developed in a fast pace with maximum possible fund being diverted to this base. “In the next three years, the first Married Accommodation Project will begin here,” Browne said.

“In the forthcoming air exercises, Iron Fist and Live Wire, this base will work as the base of fighter detachment and will play a crucial role,” he said. Still under the testing phase, indigenously developed fighter plane Tejas will also be participating in exercise ‘Iron Fist’ for the first time.

“A helicopter squadron will now be permanently station at Phalodi base and very soon fighter squadrons will also be deployed here, which will strengthen our position in the western sector and provide defence to Jaisalmer,” he said.

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Posted by pilotpaul on Jan 8 2013. Filed under Airforce, All News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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