Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said that the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system will be inducted “within this year”. He was addressing a press conference where the IAF chief talked about the new weapons the force will be getting and its preparedness along India’s borders.
“The S-400 should be inducted this year,” Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said while addressing the media on the 89th anniversary of the IAF.
He added that the Chinese air force is still present on three air bases on their side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and assured that the IAF is fully deployed and prepared.
The Air Force chief also said that China’s capability to launch multiple high altitude missions would remain weak, adding that the induction of Rafale, Apaches have significantly added to the force’s combat potential.
“The induction of Rafale, Apaches have significantly added to our combat potential. Our offensive strike capability has become even more potent with the integration of new weapons on our fleets,” said IAF chief.
He said that the IAF is in the process of new combat systems to ensure that we retain an edge over our adversaries.
“We are on the verge of getting six Light Utility Helicopters from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). We would be around 35 fighter squadrons by the next decade in view of the phasing out of old aircraft and induction of new aircraft,” said the Air Chief Marshal.
He added that the IAF is keen on integration amongst the armed forces. The joint planning and execution of operations by the three services will result in a maximum increase in our net combat capability, said the IAF chief.
Chaudhari took charge as the Chief of Air Staff from Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on September 30, 2021.
An ace fighter pilot, he was earlier in charge of the Ladakh sector during the peak of the crisis with China.
Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, the deputy CEO of state-owned Russian company Almaz-Antey, had said in August that they will begin to deliver the S-400 to India by end of the year 2021. He had also said that at the present Indian military personnel training is underway in operating the S-400.
In October 2018, India had signed a USD 5.43 billion deal with Russia for five S-400 regiments.