Successfully struck Jaish terrorist camps located at Balakot: IAF Chief

The IAF chief also assured the nation of the force's sacred resolve in defending the country's sovereignty and safeguarding the national interest.

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 Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria on Friday listed the successful strike on Jaish terror camps in Pakistan's Balakot as a major achievement of the force this year.

Bhadauria reiterated that the Indian Air Force had thwarted the Pakistani counter attack to Balakot on February 27. During the aerial battle that day, while India lost a MiG-21 fighter aircraft, it also struck down a much advanced F-16 belonging to the Pakistani Air Force during the aerial battle which ensued.

"On February 26 this year, the IAF successfully struck terrorist camps located at Balakot. On the next day, the IAF successfully thwarted Pakistan Air Force's attempts to attack our military establishments. In the aerial engagement that followed we shot down a PAF F-16 fighter aircraft and lost a MiG-21," the IAF chief said in his remarks during Air Force Day press conference.

The IAF chief also assured the nation of the force's sacred resolve in defending the country's sovereignty and safeguarding the national interest.

"Indian Air Force is grateful for the nation's trust, confidence, and support. I take this opportunity to assure the nation of our sacred resolve in defending the sovereignty of our skies and safeguarding our national interest," he said.

Bhadauria stressed that the IAF was always prepared to meet any contingency posing a challenge to the defence of the nation.

Talking about the steps taken by the IAF to augment the strength of the fighter fleet, the Air Chief said that several steps have been taken in this regard.

"The Mid-Life upgradation of Mirage 2000, MiG-29, and Jaguar fleet is already underway. The MiG 29 Upgrade programme is progressing. The Su30 MKI aircraft are also planned to be upgraded further enhancing its operational capability," he said.

As for the chopper fleet, the IAF Chief said, "The Mi-17 V5 are being modified to provide ISR capabilities and EW suite. Mi-17 and Mi-17 1V are being upgraded with glass cockpits, avionics and EW suite."

Asserting that IAF remains committed to the 'Make in India' campaign launched by the Prime Minister, Air Chief said that in the last one year, the force has continued to induct and promote indigenous development of aircraft, radars, missiles, and other equipments to achieve self-reliance.

"A few amongst these are the Light Combat Aircraft, additional Akash Missile System squadrons, Advanced Light Helicopter MK-IV, Light Combat Helicopter, Arudhra (Medium Power Radar), Ashwini (Low-Level Transportable Radar), ASTRA and BRAHMOS missiles," the IAF Chief said.

He also said that FOC for the LCA was given in February this year and informed that the delivery of FOC aircraft will begin soon.

"We have inducted and operationalised the Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft. The induction of ALH, Akash SAGW, IACCS and AD Radars are some of the other success stories of our indigenisation effort," he said.

He also asserted that the induction of Rafale fighter jets and S-400 air defence systems will greatly enhance the operational capability of the force.

"Notwithstanding the pace of acquisitions, modernisation and the indigenisation efforts which is an ongoing process, the IAF is prepared to fight at short notice in full synergy with the other two sister services," he said.

Admitting that the loss of an aircraft during peacetime is a cause of concern, the IAF Chief said concerted efforts are being made to minimise them and preserve the assets.

Emphasising about the gender neutrality of the force, the Air Chief recalled its policies have resulted in a woman officer being posted to Diplomatic post and for the first time in IAF a woman officer is performing the coveted duties of a flight commander of a helicopter squadron.

He also thanked his predecessor, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, for his vision and untiring efforts in bringing glory to the IAF.

"On behalf of all air warriors, I would also like to convey our sincere gratitude to our Ex-Air Chief, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa for his vision, untiring efforts and extraordinary leadership in bringing glory to the IAF," he said. (ANI)


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