Induction of Brahmos Air version and C-17 Aircraft would form part of the major expansion in the Indian Air Force during next year, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said today.
The first C-17 Globemaster Aircraft would reach India and the Air force by June next and would be mainly utilised for strategic lifting and transport of goods and troops, besides humanitarian relief works, Browne told reporters at Sulur Aircraft Station.
The Government has ordered 10 such heavy lift military aircraft and would be based at Hindon, the entire lot was expected to reach by 2015, he said.
Browne, here to participate in the function where two of IAF flying squadrons were awarded the President’s Standard by President Pranab Mukherjee, said the much awaited air version of Brahmos would be launched by December next year.
Since it has to go for fitness test on Sukoi-30, which was not even done by Russian Agency, it would take time for such trials and the version would be launched by one year.
“This is the first of its kind in the World,” Browne said.
Regarding Apache attack aircraft, Browne said he had already said the acquisition process of US-Made Apache 22 will continue to remain with IAF and Army has to go in for another proposal and wait for the Government’s nod.
Since both Navy and Army have their own aviation segments in a smaller way, it was upto them to acquire, he said.
Moreover, IAF did not want duplication, since it has the full responsibility of aviation, he said adding that it was also planned to phase out Mig-21 and 27, and replace them by Sukoi-30 in a phased manner.
Stating that IAF would have 39 squadron by 14th five year plan, from the present 34, Browne said Light Combat Aircraft would also be inducted by 2015 in Sulur.
On shortage of manpower, he said the force was short of 700 pilots, which would be filled by 2017, as constraints for training was creating problems to increase the strength.
To a question on accidents, he said on an average there were 11 to 12 accidents in the last three years. However, during this year (April-December) only three were reported, indicating that the Force was taking adequate steps to ensure safe running of aircraft, with advanced technology.
On whether there was tension in the area bordering China, Browne said “we examine continuously everything happening on the border. There is no cause for concern.”