By Rohit Srivastava
Indian Air Force will get the first S-400 long-range-surface-to-air missile system “within this year.” While addressing his first Air Force Day press conference, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhary informed on Tuesday. The deliveries of S-400 on schedule, he added.
India is procuring five regiments of the Russian state-of-the-art air defence (AD) system for $5.4 billion. The contract for the AD system was signed in October 2018.
The US has threatened to sanction the deal during the Donald Trump presidency.
Speaking on the planned inductions, he said that IAF will soon get six Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) from state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The LUH, indigenously designed and developed by HAL, will replace the vintage Cheetah and Cheetak used by Indian Army and IAF.
After the initial induction, orders for LUH will grow exponentially, he added.
Calling Rafael as another contender of the much delayed medium fighter procurement, air chief said that the 114 fighter need to move to enhance the combat strength of IAF.
He expressed full commitment to the under development fifth-generation-fighter Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) of DRDO and hoped that aircraft will be ready for induction by early next decade.
IAF is inducting 83 Light Combat Helicopter Mk 1A contract for which was signed in February this year.
Speaking on the possibility of acquiring the sanctioned 42 squadron of fighters, he said that IAF will not be able to do so in the next 10-15 years in spite of the planned induction programme.
Talking further on the 114 fighters, he said that it will be under the Make in India and Defence Acquisition Council will decide on the execution process of the deal.
Speaking on the new bases across the western and eastern borders, he said that IAF is ready for any eventuality.