Induction of light combat aircraft & fighter aircraft to offset shortage

In a series of far-reaching suggestions, a Parliamentary Committee has said enhancement of airpower is of paramount importance and has asked for procurement of long-range weapons.

It also reiterated the demand for “non-lapsable” capital budget for armed forces and sought a cadre review for the Indian Army officer. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence tabled multiple reports in Parliament on Wednesday.

One of the reports said, “The Air Force candidly admitted that the existing fighter squadron strength needs to be augmented… the total technical life of most of the existing (fighter jet) squadrons is expiring and consequently the squadron strength is progressively depleting.”

The induction of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and the forthcoming multi-role fighter aircraft is expected to help fill the gap. “The committee emphasises for a time-bound procurement of these aircraft,” the report said.

It added, “Keeping in mind, two-front threat perception, enhancement of airpower is of paramount importance.”

In what could be unpalatable for the government, a report said, “Although the procurement (the number of items) from foreign vendors is far less than their Indian counterparts, the value of imports has been constantly increasing since 2016-17.”

Another report said in the officer’s cadre of the Indian Army, there is a shortfall in strength by 15 per cent and suggested “a comprehensive cadre review exercise could be undertaken at higher level”.