PUNE: Chief of Air Staff (CoAS) Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said here on Monday that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis has not made any 'huge impact’ on the availability of spare parts and items with the Indian Air Force (IAF), thanks to a 'robust’ spare stalking policy adopted by the latter.

The IAF imports a variety of electronics and niche spare parts and items, including circuit boards, for the maintenance of its Sukhoi Su-30MKI aircraft, which are the frontline fighter jets of the air force.

Chaudhari also said that the IAF had adopted a policy of making `barest minimum’ purchases from foreign countries. "Anything we will buy in the future will be made in India. We will not import any weapon systems and radars. Most of these are being purchased from Indian industries," he told reporters on the sidelines of the passing out parade of the 142nd course at the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla near Pune.

"We are dependent on many items from Russia, but the ongoing crisis has not made a huge impact on us as we have a robust spare stalking policy and have already taken care of our future requirements. We have indigenised many spares which we were importing from Russia for many years. In that sense, we are reasonably assured of not being deprived of spare parts during the years ahead,” the CoAS said.

He said, “The IAF has accorded importance to the government's 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' and `Make in India' initiatives. These two policies will change India's status from the largest importer (defence products) to an exporter in the future," he said. The IAF is collaborating with Indian industries, including small-scale industries and academia to meet its future requirements, he added.

"All the three services (Army, Navy, and Air Force) have set up dedicated departments of their own which are directly interacting with Indian industries. The government has given us a 'negative import’ list. These items will never be imported. Now, we are working on a 'positive indigenization list'. We will wait for these items even if it takes time but will buy them from Indian industries only."

Modernisation Plan

On the IAF’s modernization plan, Chaudhari said, "We have signed a contract for the purchase of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and will start getting these aircraft from next year. We have decided to purchase TEJAS Mark-II and the fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). We have received a Request for Information (RFI) on the proposal of buying medium multirole fighter aircraft. We will soon move the case to get the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN). Besides, we will start getting delivery of the transport aircraft C-295 from next year."

Stresses Multi-Domain Capabilities

Earlier, addressing the passing out cadets, after reviewing the parade and taking a guard of honour, Chaudhari said, "The future military officers need to build multi-domain capabilities to execute operations in 'shortened' time frames in the present security dynamics."

"Warfare is undergoing a fundamental change with the emergence of new technology and radically newer doctrines. India’s security dynamics involve multi-faceted threats and challenges. It would require us to build multi-domain capabilities and execute operations simultaneously and in shortened timeframes," he added.