The Indian Air Force is strengthening itself towards dealing with any sort of threats specially from Pakistan and China, air marshal A K Gogoi, AOC-in-C of South West Air Command (SWAC) said here on Wednesday.
Gogoi, who was on a three-day visit to the Jodhpur air base, his first after taking over the command of SWAC, said the base here, the headquarters of SWAC, will have a permanent squadron of SU-30 fighter in the next two years.
On deployment of the Akash missile, the medium range surface-to-air missile developed by DRDO, Gogoi said two squadrons armed with these missiles are set to be deployed, of which one will be at the SWAC region in Pune.
The other will be at Gwalior, he said, adding, "Besides this, six more squadrons will be deployed in the region to check any threat from China."
The air marshal also said the IAF, which is facing shortage of aircraft, is expecting an increase in the number of fighters after 2012.
"The number of aircraft squadrons is going down so some bases do not have the required squadrons. Only after 2012, when we start to increase the number of squadrons, we can expect permanent basing," Gogoi said referring to the absence of permanent installation of aircraft squadrons at many air bases.
He also informed that the SWAC is in the process of strengthening surveillance by inducting a few state-of-the-art Medium Power Radars (MPR). "The SWAC will be the first air command to have this modern radar technology," Gogoi said. The MPR has been developed with a view to detect small targets at ranges greater than 300 km. "We have already received it and are in the process of making it functional in Gujarat," he said on the last of his visit here.
Gogoi further said proposals are on to develop the Deesa airport as a full-fledged air base. "Considering the strategic importance of this base and the development taking place around it, we have mooted a proposal to the defence ministry worth over Rs. 3,000 crore as first phase to strengthen the infrastructure of this base and we are going to push this proposal during the commanders' conference scheduled shortly," he said. Deesa like Phalodi air base, is close to the Pakistan border.
"Earlier, the air chief marshal addressed all Air Warriors, DSC personnel, NCs (E) and civilians of the station. During his address, he emphasized on the current security scenario of the nation and advised all air warriors to be more vigilant towards this aspect," defence spokesperson S D Goswami said.
Goswami said Gogoi was commissioned in the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in 1973. He has flown over 3000 hours on various aircraft, and is a qualified flying instructor and a fighter combat Leader. Gogoi was the director general air (Operations) at Air HQ prior to his current appointment. He is a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal, Goswami added.