Friday, December 31, 2010
IAF to deploy fighter aircraft in South
Amid heightened threat perception, the Indian Air Force is planning to deploy fighter aircraft squadrons in southern parts of the country to tackle the threat from non-state actors and to secure the sealanes.
"This is in our plans. The first two squadrons of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) would also be based in South India and squadrons of either the M-MRCA or the Su-30 MKI would also be based there," IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora told reporters here on the sidelines of a function here.
He was responding to a question whether the air force had any plans of deploying its fighter assets in the southern peninsula in wake of increasing threat from non-state actors like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and sea pirates.
"The role of IAF would increase in South India and we are also thinking of increasing our presence in the Andaman Nicobar Islands also," Barbora said.
The IAF is planning to deploy the first two squadrons of the LCA in Sulur in Coimbatore district in Tamil Nadu.
Asked about reports that Lashkar and other terror groups may try to use the sea route to launch attacks against India, he said, "As far as non-state actors are concerned, we can't say when, where and what they will do... If defence Services are called upon to contribute to efforts to put down the design of non-state actors, we are always available."
IAF has been strengthening its presence in the South to protect the country's interests in the Indian Ocean Region.
With the induction of force multipliers such as the mid-air refullers, the Air Force has expanded its strategic reach and is capable of carrying out long range operations.