Is IAF ready for future wars?

Source– The post is based on the article “Is IAF ready for future wars” published in The Times of Indiaon 10th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- security

Relevance– Challenges for security forces

News- The article shows the strengths and weaknesses of IAF. It shows the requirement of IAF in the context of hybrid wars.

What message does the recent use of the Air Force against China and Pakistan, convey?

It shows the determination of IAF to take action. It also conveys the willingness of political executives to take calculated risks.

It also brought into focus several faultlines in IAF working in changing scenarios of war.

One of the lessons learnt was in dealing with the after-effects of a strike. Lack of numbers, capability gap in long-range air to air missiles and other structural deficiencies in IAF defence networks and sensors resulted in suboptimal response.

What is needed to strengthen the Air Force in the context of hybrid war?

There should be accelerated induction of mid-range indigenous platforms with sensors and weapons.

There should be need-based and transparent import of high-end offensive capabilities. It must be linked with technology transfer for the next generation aerial system.

Space domain should be treated at par with the land and maritime domain. The Air Force should get adequate representation at apex structures of national security.

The Air Force should move away from its rigid position. It should contribute to jointness, synergy and integration.

What are lessons from the use of air power in recent conflicts?

In recent conflicts the use of air power was a determining factor to decide the outcomes.

Limited use of air power by India during Balakot strikes proved beneficial.

Sustained use of airpower against ISIS ensured its defeat.

Russian use of air power against Ukraine shows its limitations. It was not well coordinated, and without proper strategy. Poor training and lack of precision-guided weapons impacted its effectiveness.

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