IAF chief bemoans slow rate of acquisition

 With acquisition of new fighter jets and helicopters running behind schedule, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is concerned over implications of delays on its fighting capability.

IAF chief Arup Raha on Saturday sounded a note of caution over delays in induction of Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).

“After all Indian Air Force is India's air force, not my air force,” reminded Raha, adding: “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, however, said that the new government was trying to expedite the processes for acquisitions. Raha was addressing media-persons ahead of the 82nd anniversary of the IAF.“Design and development are taking longer than they should be.

There is a constant effort to ensure projects are not delayed, yet it happens, whether it is LCA, FGFA or MMRCA,” he said. “We have lost time lines. Time has been overrun more than once. It is definitely a concern,” he added.

Raha noted that the IAF has aircraft that reached the last days of operational lives and induction of the MMRCA and LCA needed to be hastened. 

Raha said that the process of acquiring MMRCAs had of late gathered momentum and the first squadron of aircraft could be inducted within three or four years.

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