Funds no problem but don’t waste money, Antony tells IAF


New Delhi : The government is committed to the modernisation of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and funds are not a problem to ensure that it remains at the forefront of technology, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Tuesday while stressing the need to observe austerity measures.

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“Procurement and acquisitions span the entire spectrum of the capabilities of the IAF, including fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, helicopters and modernisation of the air defence network. Net centricity, cyber security and ensuring the requisite communication bandwidth for seamless operations too are a part of capacity-building to ensure that the IAF remains at the forefront of technology,” Antony said while inaugurating the Air Force Commanders’ Conference here.

The theme of the conference was “Enhancement of Operational Infrastructure and Security”.

Antony also stressed the need to strictly observe austerity measures while noting availability of funds would never be an issue.

“Efforts must be made to cut down expenditure on non-core activities and avoidable ceremonial formalities. At the same time, I am sure all of you appreciate the need for indigenisation and move towards self-reliance in defence production. We must minimise the over-reliance of our armed forces in general and the IAF in particular on foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for procurement of major aircraft and equipment,” he said.

Antony added that the long gestation periods of acquisitions, induction and operationalisation of these systems require that the IAF upgrades its legacy systems and modern systems to retain and strengthen its capabilities.

Antony said the shortage of trainer aircraft has been an impediment in the training of aircrew.

He expressed hope that induction of the basic trainer aircraft, the intermediate jet trainer and the Hawk Mk-132 advance jet trainer would enable meaningful training to the aircrew and also prepare them to handle complex avionics in modern aircraft.

“The skill levels of other air warriors too must be similarly developed to enable them to retain and sharpen the cutting edge of the operational capability as well as adeptly handle other systems and structures in a net-centric environment,” he said.