Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa speaking at an event in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo/ANI
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa speaking at an event in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo/ANI

We are flying 44 years old MiG-21 aircraft thanks to maintenance engineers: Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa

ANI | Updated: Aug 21, 2019 00:07 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug 20 (ANI): Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Tuesday said that he can fly almost 44 years old MiG 21 MF aircraft because of the maintenance engineers of Indian Air Force (IAF).
"It goes to the credit of our maintenance engineers that today I can fly the MiG-21 MF aircraft which is almost 44 years old. I am sure none of you are driving a car of that vintage," said Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa here at an event.
"Air Force without aircraft is air with no force. Basic thing is that to project our airpower, we need aircraft. We have shown it time and again and we have risen to occasion like we have seen an exercise 'Gagan Shakti' where we sustain and maintain 83 per cent serviceability throughout the period of exercise with 95 per cent dispatch reliability," he added.
Dhanoa emphasised the need to develop indigenous defense equipment for self-reliance while adding that India cannot depend on imports alone for its defence needs.
He, however, said that some high-end weapons and systems need to be imported to "win a war till we build long term ability to manufacture state-of-art defence equipment."
"We can't wait for indigenous technology to replace obsolete warfighting equipment. Neither will it be prudent to import every defence equipment from abroad."
"What we are doing is replacing our high-end obsolete weapons with indigenously developed ones. This has boosted our in-house defence manufacturing," he added.
The Air Chief Marshal said: "We need some high-end technology items, which we have to import to win a war ... It will make a balanced Air Force with the long term ability to develop and manufacture state-of-art aircraft and systems."
He said that indigenization needs to continue to ensure self-reliance in manufacturing defence equipment.
Giving an insight of the indigenisation projects, he said: "There are presently 11 projects, out of which project sanction order has been issued to multiple development agencies for two projects including Infrared Search and Tracking for air platform."
"Remaining nine projects are at stages of acceptance of necessity and finalisation of PSQRs and feasibility study," he said.
Dhanoa said that 95 per cent of components that go into an aircraft in IAF's Base Repair Depots (BRD) are produced from indigenous sources.
He also said that the Air Force is sponsoring the development of biojet fuel to power its aircraft.
The Air Chief said that several indigenously developed radars, aircraft, bombs, and missiles have been inducted by the IAF.
"We started with 1000 pound bombs, then indigenously manufactured 250 kg and 450 kg bombs. We are testing anti-tank missile, i.e., HELINA, Astra air-to-air missile and Gautam and Gaurav laser-guided bombs," he said.
He further said that the IAF will soon induct light combat helicopters developed indigenously and said that induction of multirole fighter aircraft such as Rafale fighter jets has enhanced the global influence capabilities of the IAF. (ANI)