“No need to import attack helicopters…” IAF Chief highlights power of Made-in-India LCH Prachand

"No need to import attack helicopters…" IAF Chief highlights power of Made-in-India LCH Prachand

Indian Air Force undergoes transformation to become Indian Air and Space Force (IASF), emphasizing the importance of space capabilities

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is undergoing a significant transformation as it seeks to evolve from a potent air power to a credible aerospace force. As part of this transformation, the IAF has proposed renaming itself as the Indian Air and Space Force (IASF) to reflect its focus on the effective exploitation of the air and space continuum. With a new doctrine and a Space Vision 2047, the IAF is positioning itself to fully harness the potential of space for both defensive and offensive capabilities. This article explores the IAF’s efforts to develop space-related technologies and collaborate with various organizations to establish India as a major player in the space domain.

Expanding the Frontiers of Space

The IAF is actively collaborating with organizations such as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-Space), and the private industry to develop niche space-related technologies. The focus areas include positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT), advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications, space weather prediction, space situational awareness, and space traffic management. These efforts aim to enhance India’s capabilities in space and pave the way for the development of over 100 military satellites in the next few years.

From Air to Space: A Natural Progression

The IAF recognizes the importance of incorporating space into its training and operations. Officers and airmen are being trained to handle space-related contingencies, reflecting the natural progression from air to space. The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, has emphasized the need for India to develop defensive and offensive capabilities in the space domain. The success of ‘Mission Shakti’ in 2019, where India tested an anti-satellite (A-Sat) interceptor missile, has laid the foundation for further advancements in space capabilities.

See also  Lockheed Martin and Firefly Aerospace Collaborate to Accelerate Spacecraft Payload Operations

The Growing Significance of Space

Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari highlights that near space (20 to 100 km altitude) and outer space will be the ultimate high-ground in future battles. To stay ahead, India is building advanced winged bodies that can seamlessly operate between air and space. The IAF recognizes the evolving threat landscape, with China rapidly developing and deploying various A-Sat weapons. It is crucial for India to be prepared for the challenges posed by kinetic and non-kinetic weapons, including high-powered lasers, electromagnetic pulse weapons, jammers, and cyberweapons.

Global Precedents and Future Operations

Countries like the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, and Russia have established space commands or wings within their respective armed forces. The US, in particular, has created a dedicated Space Force (USSF) as a distinct branch. The IAF, therefore, must gradually transition from existing air-superiority missions to operations that encompass both air and space domains. This evolution will require the IAF’s integrated air command and control system (IACCS) to transform into the integrated air and space command and control system (IASCCS).

Conclusion: The Indian Air Force’s transformation into the Indian Air and Space Force signifies a strategic shift towards harnessing the potential of space for defense and offense. Collaborations with organizations like ISRO, DRDO, and the private industry, along with the development of niche space-related technologies, will enable India to establish itself as a major player in the space domain. As the global landscape evolves, the IAF’s focus on space capabilities will be crucial in maintaining India’s security and staying ahead in future battles.

Leave a Reply