Addressing at the Air Chief Marshal LM Katre Memorial Lecture on ‘IAF: Strategies and Capabilities’ on Saturday, Brown said that the year ahead was going to be crucial for India.
“There is a systematic Talibanisation of the state of Pakistan. The focal point of terrorism now has shifted from Afghanistan to not only North West Frontier Province but also to Punjab. And it is a major worry for India,” Economic Times quoted him as saying.
Elaborating the plan to strengthening the capacities in northern parts of the country, he said the two airfields – Nyoma and Kargil – will be made fully operational airbases soon. “We have plans to deploy a Su-30MKI fighter jet squadron along with a transport base in Nyoma airbase. The Kargil airbase will have the newly acquired C-130 and C-17 transport aircraft with heavy lift capabilities to enhance the special operations.”
The number of air squadrons projected for the year 2022 is 42. While the existing squadrons of MiG-29, Jaguar and Mirage-2000 will be upgraded, a good amount of the current fleet will be replaced with Rafale jets, HAL’s LCA fighter aircraft and Sukhoi MKIs. The airlift capacity (transport aircrafts) airforce will be increased three times in ten years. The helicopter fleet will also be expanded by adding the new Apache attack choppers and another fleet of either Chinook helicopters or the new variant of Mi 26s.