Sunday, November 15, 2009

Older Mig-21’s flying in to Sunset

Older Mig-21’s flying in to Sunset

A magnificent flying machine of yester years (inducted into IAF during mid 60’s) main stay of the fighting force of the IAF going to close down its wings in another two years. (Barring 126 MIG “Bison’s the upgraded and modified ones).

IAF flew them as competent “air defense” machines, so what if they were good enough only for point defense. Just enough to loiter around in the air, with after burners, for 15 – 20 minutes. Not only that IAF used them as “advanced jet trainers as well and lost many precious lives. Because of inordinate delay in procurement process of AJT (1984 to 2004) The delay in decision making is once again bringing the “Air Power” to a stage of serious concern.

IAF is to have nearly 40 Squadron on its roll (39.5 to be very precise). News paper reports indicate IAF would come down to 28 Squadron but in all probability we could take an all time low of 26 Squadron or in real terms or even less .

An thought of a concern that we are going to be short of nearly 14 squadron in another two years. That amounts to 14X18=252 aircraft and if we include MR and SOW as well we can add another 84 aircraft. A short fall of 252 + 84 = 326 aircraft is a matter of serious concern in the immediate future.

Where are the aircraft? SU 30 MK –I a total of 230 with 80 aircraft already in skies. Another 150 would takes not less then 5 years. The super selection process of 126 aircraft (MRCA) deal with six competitors has just begun . IAF may not accomplish the summer trials in this year . The process and identification of the real fighter may take from now to 30 -36 months. Tech evaluation and PNC another 24 months. And than the process of 1st delivery another 36 months. Oh surprisingly we have lost out 7-8 years.
Where is the LCA ? 2010 initially 2015 revised plan of induction.

Sorry it’s all too late and difficult to digest.

“Air Chief Marshal emphasized to “India Strategic” that air craft numbers are as important as technology and that “both these have their own specific compulsion” .

It may be recalled that in the 1990’s , when India was about to acquire SU 30 aircraft from Russia , certain quarters had campaigned that the MIG-21 was good enough and India need not go in for modern aircraft . The same voices are being heard on numbers now.

According to the well known Defence analyst Air Commodore Jasjit Singh (Former Director of IDSA and now director of CAPS – Centre for Air Power Studies)” those who raise such voice have no perception of air power in terms of numbers and technology”.

We have created a large gap for ourselves, decisions makers along with professionals have to find quick solution rather than become a silent spectators to the flight a likely dooms day.