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IAF’s Ambitious Rs 3 Lakh Crore Weapon Procurement Plan: A Strategic Investment in India’s Defense

Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari announced that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to procure a range of weapon systems, including aircraft, helicopters, and missiles, with an estimated cost ranging from Rs 2.5 lakh crore to Rs 3 lakh crore over the next six to seven years. This move aligns with the government’s push for self-reliance in defense production.

I. Weapon Procurements:

The IAF is set to invest a substantial amount in weapon systems over the next six to seven years, amounting to Rs 2.5 lakh crore to Rs 3 lakh crore. The procurement will encompass a range of platforms, including aircraft, helicopters, and missiles.

  1. Tejas Light Combat Aircraft: The IAF will acquire 97 additional Tejas light combat aircraft Mark-I at an estimated cost of Rs 67,000 crore, supplementing the previous procurement of 83 such aircraft.

  2. Tejas Mark 1A: A contract for 97 Tejas Mark 1A aircraft, valued at around Rs 1.15 lakh crore, is nearing conclusion. This follows a Rs 48,000-crore deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for 83 similar jets in February 2021.
  3. Indigenous Procurement: The majority of the equipment will be sourced from Indian industry, aligning with the government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) initiative.
  4. Financial Outflow: The IAF anticipates a cash outflow of nearly Rs 42,000 crore this year alone, underlining the financial commitment to defense modernization.

II. Strategic Focus:

Modern warfare is rapidly evolving due to technological advancements. The IAF is proactively adapting to these changes and has a clear strategic focus.

  1. Force Multipliers: The IAF is investing in force multipliers, including AI-based decision tools, electronic warfare equipment, robust networks, and space and cyber capabilities.

  2. Operational Transformation: The force is undergoing a transformation journey, emphasizing persistent surveillance, reducing sensor-to-shooter time, employing long-range precision weapons, and developing multi-domain capabilities.

III. Monitoring China’s Activities:

The IAF is closely monitoring China’s military activities, particularly along the LAC.

  1. Chinese Radar Deployment: China has deployed an array of radars along the LAC, with the capability to monitor deep into Indian territory.

  2. Dynamic Operational Plans: The IAF is prepared to address challenges posed by China through dynamic tactics and training, adapting to changing situations.
  3. Flexible Deployment: The IAF maintains a flexible and dynamic approach to deploying assets along the LAC, continually revising war plans based on intelligence inputs.

IV. Ongoing Disengagement Efforts:

The situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh remains complex, with partial disengagements but no complete resolution. The IAF will continue its deployment until full disengagement occurs.

V. S-400 Missile Systems:

The IAF has received three units of S-400 missile systems from Russia and expects to receive the remaining two by next year.

VI. Indo-Pacific Significance:

The Indo-Pacific region holds strategic importance, and the IAF views it as a center of gravity for both challenges and opportunities.

  1. IAF’s Role: The IAF, with its unique capabilities, aims to play a critical role in mitigating challenges and projecting India’s strength in the Indo-Pacific region.

  2. Geopolitical Imperative: Given the volatile and uncertain geopolitical landscape, a strong and credible military is imperative for India.

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