New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Top commanders of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday began a three-day conference which will discuss key operational and organisational issues of the force, which is presently down to 33 operational squadrons, as well as issues of air bases’ security.
The commanders’ conference was inaugurated by Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Defence Secretary G. Mohan Kumar, and Defence Production Secretary A.K. Gupta were also present.
The meet is also expected to discuss induction into the force of Tejas light combat aircraft, with IAF’s sanctioned strength at present is 39.5 squadrons, which is sought to be raised to 42.
Also on the agenda is the security of air bases in light of the terrorist attack in January on the Pathankot airbase and the security audit that was undertaken after that.
An official statement later said the aim of the conference is to “enhance the operational capability of the IAF”.
Air Chief Marshal Raha updated Singh on operational status of the IAF, security measures in vogue and the progress on infrastructure development.
He also highlighted the efforts made to increase the aircraft serviceability and the corresponding increase in flying task of the IAF as compared to the previous years.
Achievements during recently conducted IAF and international exercises were also covered.
Air Chief Marshal Raha elaborated on the IAF’s Focus Areas and the future road-map and also dwelt upon the efforts initiated for the well-being, morale and enhancement of physical fitness of the air warriors.
Singh meanwhile complemented the IAF for professional conduct during various exercises like Livewire and Iron Fist and also its contribution towards humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
He emphasised on aviation safety, infrastructure development and the IAF’s role towards indigenisation.
The coming two days will also focus on issues pertaining to air operations, maintenance, human resources and administration and aspects of support provided by Defence PSUs through indigenised production of prime equipment.
High level delegation from HAL, BEL and BDL will be attending the conference.
The air force commanders’ conference is held twice a year.
More conferences of the commanders of the armed forces are scheduled this month: Navy’s on April 21 and Army’s from April 25 to 30.