Indian Air Force Current Affairs

Pitch Black – 18: Indian Air Force for first time participates in multinational exercise in Australia

Indian Air Force (IAF) for first time will participate in multinational air exercise Pitch Black – 18 (PB-18) in Australia hosted Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It will be three week multi-national large force employment exercise (27 July to 17 August 2018) conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.

Pitch Black – 18

PB-18 Exercise will host up to 4000 personnel and up to 140 aircraft from 12 participant countries including Australia, Canada, India, Germany, Indonesia, France (New Caledonia), Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and United States.

The multilateral exercise will feature range of realistic, simulated threats found in modern and dynamic battle-space environment. It will provide opportunity to test and improve our force integration, utilising one of largest training airspace areas in the world — Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range. It will include day and night flying.

IAF contingent comprised of 145 air-warriors including Garud commando team, four Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter planes and C-130 and C-17 transport aircraft. IAF men and planes will undertake simulated air combat exercises in controlled environment and mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing its operational capability.

After completion of exercise, on its return leg from Darwin to Subang (Indonesia), IAF fighters will be refuelled in air for the first time by RAAF KC-30A. Moreover during transit to Australia, IAF contingent will also have constructive engagement with Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces. This will be IAF’s overall third participation in multilateral air combat exercises over last three years after Red Flag exercise held in United States in April-May 2016 and Blue Flag air combat drill in Israel in November 2017.

Exercise Pitch Black

It is a biennial warfare exercise hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is normally held in Northern Australia, primarily at RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal. The aim of the exercise is to practice Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat, in simulated war environment. It traditionally consists of red team and blue team based at separate locations, with one attacking other. The first Pitch Black exercises took place in 1981 between different RAAF units. Later in 1990, it began as training exercise between Australia and Singapore and then was expanded as multilateral exercises by inviting international air forces with which Australia has defence ties.

Month: Categories: Defence Current Affairs 2018

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Six bids to supply 110 fighters for IAF

Six global aircraft manufacturers have responded Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Request for Information (RFI) to supply 110 fighter aircrafts to replace its ageing fleet of MiG-21s and MiG-27s, which are being phased out of service. Of the six bids received, Lockheed Martin F-16 and SAAB Gripen are single-engine fighters, while Dassault Rafale, Boeing F-18, Eurofighter Typhoon and United Aircraft Corporation MiG-35 are twin-engine fighters.

Key Facts

The bids now will be evaluated after which IAF will issue Request For Proposal (RFP) with exact specifications of aircraft to be procured. The RFP is expected by early 2019. It has not specified exact requirement of fighter jets, opening up contest to both single-and twin-engine jets. Both configurations were equally competent and final choice will depend on price and extent of technology transfer.

The processes including technical evaluation and selecting one aircraft will be completed in less than two years. After that, it depends on how fast the contract negotiations can be completed. It believed that technical evaluation and trials can be completed very quickly, as all aircrafts already have been tested extensively earlier. The entire cost of procurement of 110 fighter jets will be worth over $15 billion. Single-engine aircraft will cost lower than twin-engine jets, both in unit and operational costs.

Background

The IAF had issued RFI on April 6, 2018 with deadline July6, 2018. It stated Government is planning to buy 110 fighters jets, of which 85% will have to be built in India under ‘Make in India’ programme in partnership with Strategic Partner or Indian Production Agency. The procurement will be processed through Strategic Partnership (SP) model under Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).

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 aircrafts, the number of fighter squadrons 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 fighter aircrafts.

Month: Categories: Defence Current Affairs 2018

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