Conference of IAF’s Western command top brass starts

November 24th, 2008 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) A conference of the top brass of the Indian Air Force’s Western Air Command (WAC), whose area of operation extends from the world’s highest airfields in the Himalayas to the deserts of Rajasthan, began Monday to beef up operations along India’s border with Pakistan and China, a senior official said.During the two-day conference, the top commanders will deliberate on how to capitalize on the operations conducted by the WAC in the year 2008. The WAC achieved strategic gains by landing a fixed wing aircraft at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), the highest airstrip in the world at a height of 16,200 feet, after 43 years.

The command also revived Fukche airbase in Eastern Ladakh, 2.5 km from the India-China border, by landing a transport aircraft there. For the first time, Sukhoi-30 fighter jets also roared in the skies of Jammu and Kashmir this year and conducted night operations from forward bases in the state.

“The WAC recently has been involved in many path breaking activities. What next, the deliberations of the next two days will tell,” a senior IAF official said.

Addressing the top commanders, the WAC’s commanding-in-chief Air Marshal P.K. Barbora said: “Instability already exists in our neighbourhood. Hence, we need to be more vigilant than ever before.”

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major will address the annual commanders’ conference Tuesday.

During the present conference discussions on the concept of operations of Western Air Command, planning and effective use of resources would take place.

The WAC was raised as No.1 Operational group on independence in 1947. In 1949, it was re-designated as an Operational Command. In 1962, this formation got its name ‘Western Air Command, IAF’.

WAC is the most operational command of the IAF and is said to be equivalent to the eighth largest Air Force in the world. Protection of the national capital falls under the purview of the Western Air Command.

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