8 Oct : Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh; my esteemed colleagues Admiral Sureesh Mehta, General Deepak Kapoor; AOC-in-C Western Air Command; former Chiefs; honoured guests, Air Warriors, ladies and gentlemen. On the 76th anniversary of the Indian Air Force, I extend my warm greetings to all of you and welcome you to this parade.My compliments to the Parade Commander and all Air Warriors on parade, for a very impressive and smart parade. Your turnout and movements were immaculate and it has filled my heart with pride. Well done! I compliment the AOC-in-C, Western Air Command, Air Officer Commanding, Hindon and the many others behind the scene, for making all this happen.
I also congratulate all the awardees for their notable achievements.As I stand here and take stock of the year gone by, I find that we have taken some very confident steps forward in becoming a true Aerospace Power.I see a future where the Indian Air Force will project aerospace power credibly within its zone of influence with precision, speed, and high intensity, against a variety of objectives by seamlessly integrating all our assets to achieve very compressed decision cycles.
Towards achieving this, I am glad to inform you that all our acquisitions and upgradations are progressing in consonance with our plans. The Government has been extremely supportive in making this happen.
Technical evaluation of the ‘Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft’ is in progress and the flight trials should commence next year. The long awaited Hawk trainers, have been inducted, and flying training has commenced at Bidar. 17 pilots have already finished the consolidation stage. The first ‘Boeing Business Jet’ has arrived, and the first ‘Airborne Warning and Control System’ is expected early next year. Contract for the C-130J Special Operations aircraft has been signed and will operate from this very Base, in a couple of years. Helicopters in the Medium, Light and Attack class are also in the pipeline. There are many more projects in varying stages of completion. It is indeed an exciting time for our Air Force!
The first BEL manufactured ‘Rohini’ Radar has been inducted with many more in the pipeline. Medium, High and Low Level Radars will also follow. Acquisition process for Surface to Air Missiles, to beef up our Air Defence capability, has commenced.
All these assets will be integrated through the ‘Integrated Air Command and Control System’, and AFNET with the Command & Control centres. We seek to harness the capabilities of Space and Cyberspace to dominate the Information domain and increase transparency for better situational awareness.
Infrastructure is the key to sustain our future plans and capabilities. We are modernising all our airfields, upgrading our maintenance / repair facilities and modernising our logistics management. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Indian Air Force will look very different, ten years from now!
The past year has been fairly busy. The ‘Sarang’ helicopter display team was enthralling audiences in Europe and UK and the Su-30 MKIs along with the Flight Refuelling Aircraft were engaged in Red Flag–Nellis with the US, Korean and French Air Forces in the USA. We continue to be deployed in Congo and Sudan on United Nation Missions, earning international acclaim and recognition.
All this would not have been possible, but for the great contribution of our finest Force Multiplier– our Air Warriors. Their dedication, involvement and professionalism in getting the job done, has given the Indian Air Force its enviable reputation and makes me a very proud man today. Well done!
The welfare of my Air Warriors is of utmost importance. A number of welfare schemes have been implemented for their benefit. It is with great pleasure that I announce, that the Group insurance cover to our Air Warriors has been enhanced to Rs 30, 15 and 6 lakhs for officers, airmen and NCs(E) respectively, with only a very minor increase in their contribution. The IAF Benevolent Association has disbursed over Rs 160 crores in welfare loans, benefiting 12,000 Air Warriors. In addition, the Indian Air Force Benevolent Association has enhanced the amount for scholarships by 25%. All loans advanced now onwards will be insured, so that the burden is not transferred to the family, in case of an unfortunate demise of an Air Warrior.
On behalf of the Indian Air Force, I acknowledge with gratitude, the contribution made by our predecessors, whose vision, foresight and feats of incredible daring and courage, have brought us to this stature. We have inherited their rich legacies, traditions and ethos. We shall always uphold these values.
The competence and professionalism of the Indian Air Force stands acknowledged worldwide today and the Nation can be justifiably proud of their Air Force. Today, we re-dedicate ourselves to the Service of the Nation and renew our pledge to do our duty – with honour and pride. I wish all of you and your families, the very best for the coming festive season and indeed, for the year ahead.