Slow modernisation of capabilities a big concern: IAF chief

Air force chief Arup Raha on Saturday expressed concern over delays in its projects and said it was the government's responsibility to provide whatever was necessary as "Indian Air Force is India's air force not my air force".

PTI| Updated: Oct 04, 2014, 16:53 PM IST

New Delhi: Air force chief Arup Raha on Saturday expressed concern over delays in its projects and said it was the government's responsibility to provide whatever was necessary as "Indian Air Force is India's air force not my air force".

Almost all key acquisition and development projects are running behind schedule, Raha said as he sounded a note of caution over its implication for IAF's fighting capability.

But the air chief at the same time expressed hope that, under the new government at the Centre, steps would be taken to rectify the situation.

"We have quite a few fleets which are on their last legs. The draw down has to be prevented by quick induction of Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) as well as Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)," the air chief said at an interaction with the media ahead of IAF's 82nd anniversary.

"Every project, be it acquisition or design development, is taking longer than it ideally should. We have lost time lines. Time overrun is much more than it should have been. It is a concern.

"After all Indian Air Force is India's air force, not my air force. It is the government's responsibility, the responsibility of the nation to provide whatever is necessary. We are concerned that it is not coming on time," he said.

However, hailing the new government, which he said "meant business", Raha expressed hope that under it all the processes would be reviewed so that a much faster system of greater accountability can be put in place.

"They are reviewing every project. Accountability is being fixed. There is a great urgency," he said, adding that all three service chiefs can meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi one -on-one every month to discuss matters of importance.

Talking about the projects that are caught up in delays, he cited the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), which India is developing along with Russia and also said that there was an urgent need to replace the vintage light helicopters of the Army as well as air force as their flight safety record is not good.