New Delhi: Giving a big thumbs-up to indigenous technology, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) BS Dhanoa on Tuesday said that he can’t wait for the same to replace the IAF’s obsolete warfighting equipment.
The ACM made these observations while speaking at the ‘modernisation & indigenisation’ seminar of IAF organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) in the national capital. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was also present at the event.
Addressing the seminar, ACM Dhanoa said, “We can’t wait for indigenous technology to replace obsolete warfighting equipment, neither will it be prudent to import every defence equipment from abroad. What we’re doing is replacing our high-end obsolete weapons with indigenously developed ones”.
The air chief’s comments come at a time when the force has seen a series of fighter jet crashes, mostly of the MiG-21s, which have been a part of the IAF since 1963. Since 1963, it has introduced 1,200 MiG-21s; at present, it is said to have 113 of these fighters in action.
However, these are quite crash-prone; reportedly, since 1970 more than 170 Indian pilots and 40 civilians have been killed in MiG-21 crashes. The lack of ‘proper equipment’ was also said to be behind what many called the IAF’s ‘underperformance’ in its Balakot airstrikes and the aerial skirmishes with Pakistan a day later.
One of the most well-known indigenous aircraft produced by India is the Tejas, which is produced by the Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the IAF and the Indian Navy. The first Tejas IAF unit, subsequently named the Flying Daggers, joined the force in 2016.