Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 8
Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Wednesday said the IAF is looking at 350 fixed-wing aircraft from local industry over the next decade. including the 83 Light Combat aircraft the Tejas, on order.
The IAF chief was speaking at a conference ‘Energising Indian Aerospace Industry Challenges for Atmanirbhar Bharat’ organised by the Society for Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) and the IAF-backed think-tank, the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS).
Later, he clarified to the media that the numbers he referred to for aircraft would also include those being made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Ministry of Defence (MoD)-owned public sector undertaking. The HAL is to make 83 Tejas Mark 1A and could be possibly the integrator in the future in the Advanced Medium combat Aircraft (AMCA) project.
He said the success of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) had redefined the core of aviation technology. It had generated the confidence to take on any project. “On the strength of LCA we can make everything like AMCA.”
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria, in his younger days, was a test pilot for the LCA programme.
The challenge is from the northern borders (China) and the growing threat of an asymmetrical warfare. “Keep in mind that the new surprises we can spring on the adversary in the next conflict will be critical. We have to make our own sensors, weapons, etc,” he said.
Referring to technology, he said the IAF had about 16 types of parts that had been ‘3D printed’ which would go for airworthiness.