Indian Air Force Current Affairs

Arjan Singh: Sole marshal of IAF passes away

The sole Marshal of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Arjan Singh passed away following cardiac arrest in New Delhi. He was 98. He was known for shaping IAF in its early years as well as during some of its most difficult junctures.

In 2002, on the occasion of Republic Day, he was granted honorary rank of Marshal, highest military rank attainable, which before him only two Army chiefs, K M Carriappa and Sam Manekshaw, had achieved.

Arjan Singh

Arjan Singh was born on April 15, 1919, in Lyalpur (now Faislabad, Pakistan). He had completed his education at Montgomery (now Sahiwal, Pakistan).  He was selected to Empire Pilot training course at Royal AirForce (RAF) Cranwell at age of 19 years. He had served on different positions in RAF during British Rule.

On August 15, 1947, he had achieved a unique honour of leading a fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi. He had served as the IAF chief from August 1964 to 69. He was the first Indian Air Chief to be elevated to the rank of Air Chief Marshal in 1966.

He had led the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. He had launched IAF’s Operation Grand Slam that targeted at the vital town of Akhnoor of Pakistan. He retired in August 1969 and later was appointed as Ambassador of India to Switzerland and High Commissioner to Kenya. He also had served as Lieutenant Governor of New Delhi from 1989 to 1990.

Awards and Honours: In recognition of his lifelong services, Union government conferred the rank of the “Marshal of Indian Air Force” on him in 2002 making him the first and the only ‘Five Star’ rank officer with the IAF. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan for his astute leadership of the Air Force during the India-Pakistan war.

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SAAB, Adani Group announce collaboration for defence manufacturing

Swedish defence and security company SAAB and Indian conglomerate Adani Group have announced collaboration in defence manufacturing entailing billions of dollars of investment.

The partnership was announced mainly for design, development and production of single engine Gripen fighter jets under ‘Make in India’ if they win government contract to equip Indian Air Force (IAF) with new jets. They will compete with collaboration of US aircraft major Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) which are planning to manufacture F-16 fighter aircrafts in India.

Key Facts

The $12 billion Adani Group has interests in energy, real estate, logistics and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), among others. It has no presence in the defence sector and nor does have experience in manufacturing space either.

SAAB is manufacturer of Gripen, a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft featuring state-of-the-art technology, including advanced data links and sensors.

Background

IAF is expected to begin process for procuring 100 plus single engine fighter jets to replace ageing fleet of Russian Mig-21s and Mig-27s in service. The procurement will be under recently promulgated Strategic Partnership (SP) model of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). The deal is estimated to be worth over Rs. 60,000 crore.

Under this deal, first 18 aircraft will be brought to India in a flyaway mode and rest will be manufactured in India by Indian private company with technology transfer from foreign manufacturer. Only two aircrafts are available in global market to meet IAF’s requirement criteria viz, F-16 and Gripen.

Need for new aircrafts

The IAF needs minimum strength of 42 fighter squadrons to dominate and tackle two-front collusive threat simultaneously from China and Pakistan. Currently, IAF has 32 fighter squadrons. Further due to retirement of old aircraft, numbers will further go down by 2021. By then, 11 squadrons of Mig-21 and Mig-27, which are 35 to 45 years old, will be retiring from service. So to mitigate the shortfall, IAF is procuring new advance single engine fighter aircrafts.

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