Need to build asymmetric capabilities keeping China in mind: IAF Chief RKS Bhadauria

Keeping China in mind, India needs to come up with niche, asymmetric technologies which can be built in-house as they can be critical in a future conflict, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Wednesday.

“Whatever new surprises that we can spring in the next conflict, that is what will be critical,” he said.

“The next challenge is how to bring in asymmetric technological capability to Indian Air Force. While atmanirbharta (self-reliance) is very important, looking at our northern neighbour, we have to have areas, niche technologies, niche capabilities which must be built in-house, by our own industry. For reasons of security, and for reasons of rapidity. This is an area, which is easier said than done,” said Bhadauria. “This is what will give us the maximum results; be it in weapons, be it in sensors, artificial intelligence” among others.”

Speaking about the Air Force’s plans for the future, its chief said that the force is expected to buy 350 aircraft over 20 years, including the order for 73 Mk1A and 10 Mk1 of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas placed in January. “From the IAF perspective, we are looking at at least 350-odd aircraft over the next two decades. It includes the 83 LCA. It is a substantial number.”

Senior Air Force officials, however, said that this estimate is based on the number of IAF aircraft that are expected to retire over the next two decades. The officials said that even if these numbers are met, the Air Force…

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