15 Major Achievements of Indian Air Force In 2020

Acquisition

1.           Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI).        On 08 May 20, MAFI Phase-II contract for 37 airfields was signed by the MoD with M/s Tata Power SED (TPSED) at a cost of Rs 1189.44 Cr. The up-gradation of navigational aids and infrastructure under this project enhances the operational capability by facilitating air operations of military and civil aircraft even in poor visibility and adverse weather while enhancing Aerospace Safety.The MAFI Phase-I project was completed on 15 Dec 19 which involved modernisation of 30 airfields of Indian Air Force. The 37 airfields of MAFI Phase-II include 24 of Indian Air Force (IAF), nine of Indian Navy (IN), and four of other services.

2.           MAFI project is a turnkey project that includes installation and commissioning of modern airfield equipment like Cat-II Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Cat-II Air Field Lighting System (AFLS) etc. The modern equipment around the airfield is directly connected to Air Traffic Control (ATC), thereby providing excellent control of the airfield systems to the Air Traffic Controllers. The up-gradation of navigational aids and infrastructure under this project enhances the operational capability by facilitating air operations of military and civil aircraft even in poor visibility and adverse weather while enhancing Aerospace Safety.

3.           Rafale.Eight Rafale aircraft have been ferried to India from France and are fully operationalised. First Sqn of Rafale was successfully inducted in Sep 20 with necessary assets and infrastructure.

4.           Successful Integration of BrahMos Air Launched Missile on Su-30 MKI Aircraft.    The IAF successfully integrated BrahMos air version missile, on Su-30 MKI aircraft. The BrahMos missile provides Indian Air Force a much desired capability to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target at sea or on land with pinpoint accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions.

5.           Other Procurement Cases

(a)          Govt Approval of Fresh Acquisitions.      Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) was accorded by Defence Council for procurement of potential indigenous platforms such as ASTRA BVR missile, Smart Anti Field Weapon (SAAW), Long Rang Land Attack Cruise Missile (LR-LACM), HTT-40 etc. Procurement of the aforesaid defence equipment is under progress as per the procedure.

(b)          Case for procurement of advanced 83 LCA Mk 1A from HAL is at final approval by the CCS and contract is likely to be signed soon.

(c)           Case of procurement of 56 C-295 from M/s Airbus with participation of an Indian Production Agency for manufacture of 40 aircraft (out of total 56) in India is also at CFA approval stage and contract is likely to be signed in the near future. The case is first of its kind which envisages participation of private companies and would prove to be a boost for our defence industry.

(d)          Case for procurement of LCH from HAL, IEWR and D-29 from BEL, Harop (P-IV) (Option Clause), upgrade of UAV systems are also at advance stage. Contracts are likely to be signed in the first quarter of 2021.

Make Projects

6.           Atmanirbhar Bharat.    IAF actively supports the national vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. It has been an endeavour of IAF to avail various schemes launched by GoI and provide impetus to the process of self-reliance in Defence Manufacturing. Following is an update on the various schemes under Make in India initiative.

(a)          Make-II Scheme. IAF has issued Project Sanction Order (PSO) for prototype development to undertake Design & Development of Chaff & Flares, IRST for Su-30, Foldable Fibreglass Mats, 125 Kg Bombs and Fuze for Aerial bombs has been awarded to Indian Industry.

(b)          Technology Development Fund (TDF) Scheme. Government of India had set up a ‘Technology Development Fund (TDF)’ which is managed by DRDO. 18 IAF projects under the scheme are at various stages of the TDF procedure. Contract for the Design and Development of Video processing/ switching board for Su-30 MKI and Burner rings for Mirage-2000 engine have been awarded to Indian vendors.

(c)           iDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence).       Under the iDEX framework of DIO, MoD for engaging industries (including MSMEs, Start-ups, Individual Innovators), IAF has participated in four Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) challenges.

(d)          AEW&C Mk-2.     AoN for procurement of Six AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning & Control) Mk-2 aircraft with associated equipment has been granted by DAC on 17 December 2020 under ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ category. The platform for the system is likely to be pre-owned Airbus A-319/321 aircraft from Air India. The mission system Design and Development as well as maintenance of the system will be carried out indigenously thus providing a fillip of Indian defence industries. The project, therefore, is likely to give a major boost to ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat’.

(e)          LCA Induction.    LCA is a product of indigenous effort towards building a potent fighter aircraft with contemporary capabilities. “Tejas” is the first advance Fly By Wire fighter aircraft designed, developed and manufactured in India. The first LCA Squadron was formed on 01 July 2016. Till date, 16 Aircraft have been delivered to IAF in IOC configuration. Delivery of FOC aircraft has also commenced. IAF also plans to procure 83 LCA Mk 1A. HAL, ADA and the IAF have worked together to overcome teething problems which are present in any new induction. The FOC configuration has begun to roll out with improved weapons capability, enhanced fight envelope, inflight refuelling capability and advance features for low speed handling.

(f)            Pechora Digitisation.    IAF is in the process of upgrading its legacy Pechora system of post 1987 vintage. Contract for digitisation of Firing Units of Pechora Missile System was signed on Sep 20. Post digitisation performance of the system would be enhanced considerably. Presently, the Firing Unit digitisation is under progress.

OP Mobilisation in Leh Sector

7.           Rapid Op Mobilisation (Northern Sector) During Mid-2020.         The heavy airlift assets of the Tpt Fleet of IAF proved their mettle by mobilising huge quantum of war waging machinery along with battle ready troops in the Northern Sector in quick time frames, thereby altering the dynamics of the force posturing.

HADR

8.           HADR Missions (International). The international air effort towards Covid task comprises the following:

(a)      Goodwill Flight to Wuhan, China.C-17 employed to airlift 15 Tons of medical supplies to China and to evacuate 112 Indian and foreign nationals to India on 26 and 27 Feb 20.

(b)      Immediate Evacuation of Indians from Iran. C-17 employed to evacuate 58 Indians from Tehran on 10 Mar 20.

(c)           Airlift of Medical Equipment /Supplies to Male.   6.2 Tons of Load airlifted to Male on 02 Apr 20.

(d)          Evacuation of COVID-19 +VE DRDO Personnel from Kyrgyzstan.         49 DRDO personnel (including 25 COVID-19 Positive Personnel) were airlifted from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to Vishakhapatanam, India on 04 Nov 2020.

(e)      Medical Support to Kuwait.  15 Medical personnel along with 1.8 Tons of load comprising COVID Testing Machines and associated Computers was airlifted to Kuwait on 11 Apr 20.

(f)       C-17 Trip to Congo / South Sudan.  One  C-17 was employed to airlift 18.6 Tons of COVID-19 stores and Indian Army load from Hindan to Goma (Congo) and Juba (South Sudan) on 18 July 20 and to get passengers back to India. The Aircraft operated non-stop to cover a total distance of 7,100 Km. 62 passengers including 18 Indian nationals & 02 Mortal Remains were bought back from Goma and Juba respectively.

(g)      Mission to Beirut, Lebanon.  One C-17 airlifted 57 Tons of relief material including medicines, food grains, blankets, PPEs, gloves and masks to Beirut on 14 Aug 20.

(h)     Mission to Mauritius.   On 16 Aug 20, one C-17 airlifted 35 Tons of humanitarian aid & pollution response material from Sulur to Mauritius along with 10 personnel of Indian Coast Guard.

9.           HADR Missions (Domestic).Air effort towards various natural calamities during the year are given as under:-

(a)      Vizag Gas Leak.   After the gas leak from a chemical plant in Vizag,
8.3 Tons of chemical load was airlifted from Mundra to Vizag on
09 and 10 May 20 to provide relief. Inaddition, 04 NDRF and 05 National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) Scientists were airlifted. 23 sorties and 40 hrs were flown.

(b)      Cyclone ‘AMPHAN’.      2 x C-130 were employed to airlift two NDRF teams each from Pune to Kolkata and from Arakonam to Kolkata respectively, towards Cyclone Relief Ops. Total 91 personnel and 8.6 T of load was airlifted on 21 May 20.

(c)      Cyclone ‘NISARGA’.   OneIL-76was tasked on 02 Jun 20 from Bhatinda to Suratgarh to airlift 10.8 Tons load and 122 Pax of 07 NDRF. One IL-76was tasked on 02 Jun 20 from Vijaywada to Mumbai to airlift 6.9Tons load and
108 Pax of 10 NDRF.

(d)      Flood Relief Ops.          Heptrs were extensively deployed for flood relief ops during 2020 in the states of Bihar, Telengana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, J&K and Maharashtra. 144 sorties were flown and 338 Pax and
76.95Tons of load were airlifted.

(e)      Evacuation of Stranded Trekkers from Chadar Trek.A request was received from UT of Ladakh for evacuation of 80-100 trekkers (including
02 French and 07 Chinese nationals) stranded in Zanskar valley. IAF launched two ALH Helicopters for the rescue mission and 107 trekkers were evacuated safely to Leh. 28 sorties were flown from 14 to 16 Jan 20 for the rescue mission.

10.        Locust Spray by IAF Helicopters.    Ministry of Agriculture had requested for helicopters to be employed for spraying purposes to control spread of locusts. IAF carried out modification of two Helicopters in quick time for the task, which were then used aerial spraying in Rajasthan and Gujarat states.

11.        Efficient Use of Indian Airspace.     Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) have jointly formed a mechanism for efficient use of Indian Airspace.  To achieve this, the National Airspace Management Cell (NAMC) was made operational from 30 Jul 20 and the Regional Airspace Management Cell (RAMC), Chennai from
02 Dec 20. It is jointly manned by officers from IAF and AAI.

12.        Joint Use of Defence Airfield under RCS Udan Scheme.      IAF has been actively interacting with MoCA/ AAI for sharing its airports and airspace for supporting the increased demands of civil aviation. Accordingly, seven more defence airfields have been opened for joint useto accommodate civil scheduled flights as part of RCS UDAN Scheme in last one year. Scheduled flight operations have commenced from Darbhanga airfield from 08 Nov 20. 39 IAF bases & 7 ALGs have been made available for joint user operations.

13.        Disposal of NOC Cases for Wind Turbine Generators. In order to ease and expedite the process of installation of Wind Turbine  Generators (WTGs) towards achieving the renewable energy generation target of Govt of India, IAF has identified and demarcated areas in Gujarat and Rajasthan sector where WTGs can be installed without having to apply for NOC. 1654 WTG locations have been recommended around the country during the period of 01 Jan 20 to 15 Dec 20, despite Covid-19 restrictions.

14.        Implementation of e-Goverance (e-Office) in IAF   IAF e-Governance (e-Office) System has been launched in Dec 20 for all Officers in the IAF. The implementation of the initiative, undertaken as part of digital and e-governance policies, of the Government of India will see over 800 Indian Air Force units across the country transit to ‘paperless office working’ in the coming year. Launch of e-Governance (e-Office) in IAF marks a paradigm shift from current method of manual handling of files and documents to a digital one.  The system aims to achieve enhanced transparency, improved efficiency, increased accountability, assured data integrity & security along with a drastic reduction in the use of paper and will result in optimization of time & human resources.

15.        Project e-Maintenance Management System (e-MMS).         Indian Air Force has taken a giant step in automation of Maintenance Management through implementation of e-Maintenance Management System (e-MMS) which is one of the largest Maintain Repair Overhaul (MRO) solutions implemented in the world. e-MMS project is a testimony to success of Public-Private partnership and Digital India concept spearheaded by Ministry of Defence and IAF. Total value of the contract is Rs. 637.77 Cr which includes implementation across 170 locations of the IAF as well as operationalization of one Data Centre (DC) and one Disaster Recovery (DR) Centre. Contract for project e-MMS signed between Ministry of Defence and M/s Wipro Ltd concluded on 31 Dec 19. Project is presently in Adaption Phase from 01 Jan 2020 with all maintenance undertaken digitally on e-MMS.

Operational benefits to IAF with the introduction of e-MMS are:

(a)          Digitisation of publications of approximately 50 fleets and equipment amounting to over 29 Lakh pages, this has benefited in document traceability.

(b)          Computerised monitoring of aircraft components of around 40 lakh plus items and other system components of around 30 lakh plus items for their servicing dues towards ensuring timely servicing.

(c)          Enhanced productivity with real-time visibility of asset status like aircraft serviceability across all levels of IAF resulting in optimum planning and aid in decision making.

(d)          Centralised digital enforcement of maintenance policies and service schedule, thereby reducing time taken for information reaching field personnel as well as ensuring security of data access.

(e)          All Modern and upcoming inductions like Rafale are brought into e-MMS gambit. IAF having its own eMMS has overcome need to take these additional systems saving money to exchequer.

Fight Against COVID-19

16.        Quarantine facilities

(a)      As per directions of GoI, quarantine facilities were created at various stations in IAF. These facilities would cater for GOI evacuees from overseas or within the country as and when needed. IAF has created ‘Facility based quarantine facilities’ at the various locations.

(b)      The Quarantine facility at Hindon received 58 evacuees on 10 Mar 20 from           Iran who were brought by C-17 of IAF. They were quarantined for               14 days, however due to a positive case in the group the quarantine period was extended.

(c)      The quarantine facility at Tambaram received 113 evacuees on 24 Mar 20 from Malaysia who were brought by Air India flight. There were quarantined for 14 days. Total 178 Evacuees from UAE were also received on 18 May 20 for 14 days of quarantine.

17.        Medical Activities.  IAF created quarantine facilities at nine locations across the country and converted five hospitals into dedicated/ mixed COVID-19 hospitals which were prepared and ready to receive civilian patients in addition to serving personnel and dependents. Remaining IAF hospitals/ Station Medicare Centres (SMCs) were also upgraded to receive and treat serving personnel and dependants with COVID-19.

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