Guwahati: Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa hailed the mission to induct the largest number of indigenous aircraft ever in India.
On a question by CNN-News18 over the Rafale controversy probably derailing procurement plans, the IAF chief said that a total of 12 squadron and 231 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will be inducted into the force, adding that India will own the first lot of Rafale fighter jets by 2019.
“We are supposed to induct a number of fighters – we have floated RFI for 114 fighter aircraft and there is a proposal to induct LCA in big number. The total number of LCA squadron is 12. The LCA mark 1 in IOC configuration of one squadron comprising 20 aircraft, LCA Mark 1 in FOC configuration of one squadron 20 aircraft, LCA Mark 1A four squadron 83 aircraft, LCA Mark II of 6 squadron 108 aircraft will total to 12 squadron of 231 aircraft. This will be the largest number of indigenous aircraft we have ever inducted,” he said.
“It is now in Request for Information (RFI) state, from here we have to come out with operational requirements. Once that is ready, we will then go back to the government for acceptance of necessity based on which we will issue the (Request for Proposal) RFP for the fighter procurement programme,” he added.
The Air Chief Marshal said that Indian Air Force is undergoing modernization at a fast pace by inducting cutting edge technologies to enhance operational capability. He added that the challenges of transformation in terms of creation of appropriate infrastructure, training of air warriors in absorbing high-end technologies, and operationalization of the weapon system expeditiously are being met with hard work and professional competence.
The IAF Chief was addressing media in Guwahati after the ceremonial event of President’s Standard and Colours awarded to 118 Helicopter Unit and Air Defence College.