IAF creating network centric warfare capability

August 16th, 2008 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of F-16

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) is creating network centric warfare capability to enable it to effectively deploy its assets on the ground, in the air and in space, a top commander has said. “Network centricity involves linking ground, air and space assets together for complete situational awareness. For this we are in the process of laying a network of fiber optics data links called the Air Force Net, which will be a part of the Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS),” the IAF vice chief, Air Marshal Pradeep Naik said Friday.

“The integration of the operational data link with the airborne platforms of IAF will complete the chain. In October we are expecting the first of our AWACS (airborne warning and control system) which will be a crucial link in our network centricity,” he added while addressing the IAF contingent at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada that is participating in the ongoing “Red Flag-2008″ war game with the US and other air forces.

Naik also attended the pre-exercise briefings, the flying manoeuvres and exercise debriefs of the IAF contingent participating in the prestigious exercise “Red Flag-2008″. Apart from interacting with the IAF contingent, Naik also visited the combined air and space operations centre at Nellis.

β€œI am of the opinion that the relations between countries are best led by the armed forces. India and the US have been natural friends for a long time and they are getting closer and closer. We are looking for increased cooperation in future,” an IAF statement issued here Saturday quoted Naik as saying.

Though India has participated in many US-led war games, it is taking part for the first time in Red Flag, considered one of the toughest military exercises. India has spent around Rs.1 billion ($25 million) for the exercise, which began Aug 10 and will conclude Aug 24.

Apart from India and the US, Red Flag also features air force contingents from France and South Korea.

The IAF has fielded eight Sukhoi SU-30MKI jets, two IL-78 tankers, and an IL-76 heavy transport aircraft. The US has fielded F-15 and F-16 jets, France has fielded the Rafaele fighter and South Korea the F-15.

Talking about the goals of the IAF contingent at the exercise, Naik said: β€œIt 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.”

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