IAF needs to prepare for small duration intense operations at short notice, says VR Chaudhari

The Indian Air Force (IAF) needs to prepare itself for intense and short duration operations at a moment’s notice, and also be ready for short swift wars and long standoffs, like the one in Eastern Ladakh, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said Thursday.

Addressing a conference on logistics management in the IAF, Chaudhari said, “The current geopolitical situation necessitates the Indian Air Force to prepare for intense and small duration operations at a short notice. This new paradigm of high-intensity operations, coupled with minimal build-up time would require major changes in terms of (operational) logistics. ”

Logistics support in such a scenario would be extremely challenging, he said, because the Air Force has a “fairly vast and diversified inventory”.

“To address issues like availability of spares, I feel we need to re-evaluate demand forecasting methods and stocking philosophies. The way forward will be to have serviceability linked inventory management system. Flexible stocking policies with modern forecasting techniques would help in demand sensing and prepositioning of items at bases. We must also review our procurement strategies in order to reduce lead time for supplies and pre-empt problems of supply chain obsolescence. ”

His comments come at a time when there have been concerns about the availability of spares due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, and Russia’s ability to deliver them.

Chaudhari said that the IAF needs to work on an “optimal hub and spoke stocking philosophy” to cater for all contingencies. “While forward-leaning of logistical stores provides the requisite solutions, logistical flexibility must not be forgotten and thus there is a need to find an optimum balance between the two.”

The IAF chief said that in the “force, space and time continuum, there would be a need for us to prepare for short swift wars as well as be ready for a long drawn standoff akin to what we are seeing in eastern Ladakh” and there will be a need “to cater for bridging and transportation resources for both these contingencies.”

During contingencies, he said, the roads and railheads would be choked due to the simultaneous movement of the Indian Army along the same axes, which is why “we need to formalize an integrated road and rail management plan and explore the feasibility of increased containerization and use of civilian wide-bodied aircraft. ”

He also argued for a “focused action plan” for indigenization of all critical components “and for that, he said,” we must leverage emerging technology “like artificial intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things,” suitably adapted to our supply chain requirements. ”

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