Indian Air Force

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  • Ethics at the Grassroots: A Values-based Approach

    This article addresses the declining standards of morality in the armed forces and suggests measures to address it by undertaking appropriate interventions at the grassroots, unit or battalion. It traces the importance of ethics in the military, particularly in the context of the post-modern state, which grants exclusive authority to the armed forces for the use of violence. Further, it examines the state of ethics today and the challenges in codification to arrive at the basic ethical norms that need to be fostered in the military.

    April 2013

    Roots of Moral Decline in the Armed Forces: Time to Reclaim our Izzat

    The precipitate decline in moral and ethical values, as well as the steep fall in standards of private and public conduct, in recent years, has been accompanied by a concurrent erosion of values amongst India’s military personnel. Consequently, the armed forces, which were once considered exemplars of ethical conduct, discipline and decency, are rapidly slipping in the estimation of their countrymen.

    April 2013

    Challenges for Indian Air Force: 2032

    This is the first in a four-article series on the theme ‘IAF Deep Multidimensional Change 2032: Imperatives and a Roadmap’. It examines the challenges that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to face when it completes a century in 2032. The main external challenges facing the IAF are the Chinese, Pakistani and Sino-Pak threat, and the need to build and maintain capability for Out of Area Contingency Operations.

    January 2013

    Vipin Vijayan asked: Should India have invested billions in Rafale? What's the future of Tejas? Will the Rafale really plug IAF's squadron gap?

    Reply: Refer to the following earlier and current publications by IDSA faculty on the issue:

    Rafale MMRCA Deal: Last Minute Glitches?
    By Vivek Kapur, August 30, 2012, at
    http://idsa.in/idsacomments/RafaleMMRCADealLastMinuteGlitches_vkapur_300812

    Transformation of the Indian Air Force over the Next Decade (Issue Brief)
    By Vivek Kapur, June 13, 2012, at http://idsa.in/system/files/IB_TransformationoftheIAF.pdf

    Major Issues of Immediate Concern for the Indian Air Force
    By Vivek Kapur, June 11, 2012, at
    http://idsa.in/idsacomments/MajorIssuesofImmediateConcernfortheIndianAirForce_VivekKapur_110612

    The Rafale: An Opportunity Towards Indigenous Aircraft Design And Manufacture
    By Vivek Kapur, February 17, 2012, at
    http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/TheRafaleAnOpportunityTowardsIndigenousAircraftDesignAndManufacture_VivekKapur_160112

    MMRCA: Counter Point,
    By Ramesh Phadke, February 13, 2012, at
    http://idsa.in/idsacomments/MMRCACounterPoint_rphadke_130212

    The air force gets its ideal platform
    By Ajey Lele, February 11, 2012, at
    http://dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/51038-the-air-force-gets-its-ideal-platform.html

    Rafale Wins the MMRCA Competition
    By Ramesh Phadke, February 6, 2012, at
    http://idsa.in/idsacomments/RafaleWinstheMMRCACompetition_rphadke_060212

    Dogfight: India’s MMRCA Decision (Book review)
    By Ramesh Phadke, February 7, 2011, at
    http://idsa.in/bookreview/DogfightIndiasMMRCADecision_rphadke_070211

    MMRCA: A difficult choice for the IAF
    By Ramesh Phadke, May 19, 2010, at
    http://idsa.in/idsacomments/MMRCAAdifficultchoicefortheIAF_rphadke_190510

    Rafale: the doomed French bird
    By Guillem Monsonis, May 14, 2009, at
    http://idsa.in/idsastrategiccomments/RafalethedoomedFrenchbird_GMonsonis_140509

    Rafale MMRCA Deal: Last Minute Glitches?

    The Rafale deal is especially important as it is IAF’s best bet to stem and even reverse the recent and continuous fall in the combat aircraft squadrons fielded.

    August 30, 2012

    Stealth and Counter-stealth Some Emerging Thoughts and Continuing Debates

    If there is one dimension in the air attack–air defence continuum that is riding high on the wings of enabling edge technologies, it is the use of stealth, both in the offensive and defensive domains.

    July 2012

    Transformation of the Indian Air Force over the Next Decade

    The ongoing transformation involving the induction of advanced weapon and combat support systems is aimed at developing the IAF’s capabilities to deliver what is required of it.

    June 13, 2012

    Major Issues of Immediate Concern for the Indian Air Force

    The multitude of challenges the IAF faces during its ongoing transformation ranging from a high accident rate to cyber warfare need to be addressed to ensure that it remains an effective fighting force.

    June 11, 2012

    Technology For The Future IAF: The Case For Hypersonic Craft

    The re-equipment of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for the medium- to long-term requires a careful look at the costs and technical problems associated with Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). The country may gain from examining alternative means of achieving the benefits in capability offered by FGFA through the possibly cheaper hypersonic route, especially if pursued indigenously.

    March 09, 2012

    Harry asked: How the Indian Air Force could have been better utilized to support the ground troops during Operation Vijay?

    Anit Mukherjee replies: The war in Kargil was unprecedented on several levels. That the Pakistani army would attempt such an audacious but strategically inept operation was not envisaged by any Indian political, intelligence or military official. As a result, the war and its geographical location came as a complete surprise. Perhaps, due to that, both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force had never planned, trained or equipped themselves to fight the war that they did. The unique terrain and the extreme altitude also presented formidable challenges. Despite that, the Indian Air Force (IAF) performed ably as its pilot went in harm’s way and some paid the ultimate sacrifice. Thus, there were significant problems in Army-Air Force operations during this war. To begin with, though the three services in India follow the “coordination model” of jointness, they lack interoperability. In simple words, the IAF lacked the capability to communicate with ground troops. As a result, the strike missions flown were pre-planned with fixed time-over-targets (ToTs). Both the Air Force and the Army had not practiced or trained with hand held laser designators. Surprisingly, till date their drills are based on Ground Liaison Officers and Air Control Team (ACT) with tentacles that require dedicated and scarce Air Force officers to enable robust cooperation. This is a concept inherited from the World War Two era as most modern militaries have taken advantage of advanced communications equipment to practice better interoperability.

    The employment of Air Force helicopters in an attack role has been the subject of a controversy due to the shooting down of a Mi-8. Air Force officials contend that the Army was wrong to request for helicopters while some in the Army maintain that the Air Force was reluctant to engage in offensive operations.

    Overall, the war in Kargil presented unique challenges and junior officers and men in both the Army and the Air Force performed admirably. There were disagreements between senior officials, some of it perhaps unavoidable, that vitiated working relations to some extent. Unfortunately, however, joint lessons learnt were never commissioned by either the Chiefs of Staff Committee or the Ministry of Defence, as a result we know very little about the joint conduct of operations.

    To put it in a more direct manner, the answer to your question will only be known when the operational documents of both services are studied or the participants interviewed. That unfortunately, while still possible, has not happened.

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