categories and plans to fill the vacancies within the next two years,
Chief of Air Staff P V Naik said on Tuesday.
“There is shortage of about 300 to 400 pilots. We have upped our intake
rate. It will take a year or two to fill up the posts,” Air Chief
Marshal Naik said at a joint press conference with his British
counterpart Stephen Dalton on the final day of the 15-day India-UK
joint air exercise ‘Indradhanush’ at at Kalaikunda air base in West
Bengal’s West Midnapur district.
While Mirage-2000, Sukhoi 30 and MiG-27 from the Indian side
participated in the exercise, the Royal Air Force showcased its
Eurofighters, Typhoons and airborne warning and control system. An IAF
AWACS aircraft also participated in the exercise for the first time.
Pointing out that the Air Force had more than 32 squadrons Naik said
that there was a need to increase their number. “We also need more
satellites, so that we become a networked air force.”
With India planning to acquire 126 Medium-weight multi role combat
aircraft a cost of $ 12 bn (about Rs 5,300 crore), the air force has
submitted the test reports of MMRCAs like the F-16, F-18, Typhoon,
Gripen and MiG 35 to the government on July 31.
“The MMRCAs will help us tremendously. I have no reservation on any of
them. Although our present capability is sufficient to complete our
mission of protecting the country from any threat from air or space,”
Naik said that the Mach-I version of the indigenous light combat
aircraft would be ready around the middle of next year and it would
take another three years to complete the Mach-II version. The initial
LCA squadrons would be located at Surut in south India.