'IAF is fighter-jet deficient'


Naik also downplayed reports of Chinese air incursions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). “As far as the IAF is concerned, there are no incursions anywhere (across Indian border),” he said. “Our present aircraft strength is inadequate.
We have one-third of the Chinese numbers. And that is why we are going for more,” Naik said echoing the just retired naval chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta’s concern that the country neither has the capability nor the intention to match China force for force.

The air chief’s comments come against the backdrop of media reports about the Chinese Army and air “incursions” into India in the past several weeks. “We are not downplaying the challenges before us. But there is a strategy to handle it. One can either deal with it sternly or play cool and continue to develop capabilities,” Naik said.

Naik further said “the government is giving full support as far as the acquisition of these things are concerned in terms of finance or otherwise. When asked about the deployment or arrangement along the India-China border, he said: “We have increased our capabilities on land as well as in air.”

Increasing challenges
Naik said the country was faced by many challenges which were increasing day by day. “So far, the effect of all these challenges on the Indian Air Force is that we have to be prepared for all kind of conflicts, starting from the top that is nuclear to the terrorist which is a lower spectrum conflict,” he said.
Naik said all the challenges, be it geo-political or within the country, were equally important. “Depending on the priority, all these challenges are being handled by developing capabilities not only of armed forces but also by looking into diplomatic and economic factors which form part of national security,” he said.
Asked what kind of aircraft the IAF would be purchasing , he said that Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft were in the offing, while the second phase of trial for the F-18s and F-16 aircraft had been completed.

Also in the offing are the fifth generation fighter aircraft and medium transport aircraft for which there has been an agreement between the Indian and Russian government, he added.

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