IAF must be best by 100th year: Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari

The newly inducted C-295 transport aircraft marked its first appearance in an air display in India

New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari on Sunday unveiled the new Indian Air Force ensign on its 91st anniversary at Bamrauli Air Force Station in Prayagraj of Uttar Pradesh.

The new feature is the addition of the Air Force crest in the top right corner of the ensign, towards the fly side.

The occasion was also the first Air Force Day Parade to be commanded by a woman officer, Gp Capt. Shaliza Dhami, who is also the first woman officer of the IAF to command a combat unit.

In another first, the parade had an all-women contingent comprising the newly-inducted Agniveer Vayu women, who marched shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts. The parade also included a flight of Garud Commandos of the IAF for the first time. The Garuds recently completed 20 years of service to the nation.

The air display on the banks of the Triveni Sangam featured 108 aircraft of the IAF, along with ALH Dhruv helicopters of the Indian Army and a P-8l aircraft of the Indian Navy. The display featured the lAF's celebrated display teams, the Surya Kiran and the Sarang.

The newly inducted C-295 transport aircraft marked its first appearance in an air display in India. The legendary MiG-21 Bison made, probably, its last appearance in an air display, before the planned phase-out by 2025.

In his address, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari exhorted his personnel to understand the nuances of evolving air power, to preserve peace and if and when necessary, to fight and win wars.

“We must reform, or become a relic. We must innovate, else become mundane and we must transform, else become irrelevant,” he said. “The force structure that we need to develop must be future-ready.”

Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said that from multi-domain operations to hybrid warfare, the Air Force needs to recognise that modern warfare transcends traditional boundaries. “We must seamlessly integrate air, space, cyber and ground capabilities to dominate the battlespace,” he said.

He said if India is on the path to becoming a developed nation by 2047, then IAF must be one of the best by the time IAF completes 100 years in 2032. “The vision, as laid down in our doctrine, is to be an agile and adaptable air force that provides decisive aerospace power in furtherance of our national interests,” he said. Innovation must become a part of IAF's DNA.

“Developing unique tactics, carrying out realistic training and incorporating relevant lessons learnt will go a long way,” he added.

On Agniveers, the Chief of Air Staff said, “We have successfully inducted the first batch of Agniveers and subsequent batches, including women Agniveers, are undergoing basic training. The rigour of training has been increased across the board for all training curriculums with more emphasis on self-learning and self-education.”

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