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Indian Air Force to achieve total network centricity soon

NELLIS, US (BNS): The Indian Air Force will soon achieve total network centricity by linking ground, air and space assets to attain superior situational awareness.

Indian Air Force’s vice chief Air Marshal PV Naik who visited the US air force base Nellis in Nevada, where an IAF contingent is participating in the prestigious Red Flag exercise, said that network-centric warfare capability is vital and indispensable in today's warfare.

The IAF is laying a network of fiber optics data links called the AF Net, which will be a part of the Integrated Air Command and Control System. The integration of the operational data link on the airborne platforms of IAF will complete the chain. The induction of IAF's first AWACS by October will provide a further crucial link for the network centricity.

The presence of Naik at Nevada to witness how his “boys” were doing shows the significance of Indian participation in the grueling simulated war games that brings the best out of fighter pilots.

The commander of Hawaii-based 13th Air Force of USAF, Lieutenant General Lloyd Utterback, accompanied Naik to Nellis. “I am of the opinion that the relations between countries are best started by the armed forces. India and USA have been natural friends for a long time and they are getting closer and closer. We are looking for increased cooperation in future,” commented Naik on growing military ties between New Delhi and Washington.

The Red Flag exercise arena is considered to be world's best in training exercise for fighter pilots and the Americans have thrown open the facility only for its close friends and allies from the NATO in the past.

“It is every pilot's dream to take part in this exercise which helps them to fly away from home environment with various other types of aircraft. It is a dense flying environment with large force engagements. It has only been three to four days of flying in the exercise but we are on track to achieve our set goals,” said Naik.

The IAF's presence in Nevada is a testimony to the fast changing global equations, from Cold War times when the US was wary of any air force that flies MiGs. The IAF has also shed its inhibition and flown top of the line Su-30 MKIs, custom made by the Russians to meet Indian requirements. Su-30 MKIs were always kept away from the foreign air forces.

Naik took part in exercise briefings and was also presence during debriefs. He was also taken to the combined air and space operation centre at the base. The vice chief had an interaction with the Indian pilots and had on the spot assessment of their performance.

The American commander said the USAF and IAF form an incredible team.

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