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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : Indian Air Force needs a new doctrine


Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: Atmanirbhar, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Quad, modern technologies in defense etc
  • Mains GS Paper II and III: Science and technology-Development and their applications and effects in everyday life etc



  • There is a greater pitch for aatmanirbharta in the field of the defense inventory in India.




Atmanirbhar Bharat:



Steps taken in defense sector:

  • Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020)
  • Make in India: 2014


Indian Air Force(IAF):

  • It was effective right from the first campaign which was in 1948 where Pakistan intruded into J&K. The IAF played a very critical role.
  • In 1965 Indo-Pakistan war air power was used with little less coordination, but they played an effective role.


Need for modernisation:

  • Threat perception: To derive from threat perception in future days.
  • Two front: Doctrine which has now become two front war policy.
  • Net centric warfare.
  • Aerospace kind of IAF to handle space assets in a required manner.
  • Force multipliers that are air to air refuelers.
  • To protect the airspace in a high manner.



  • Induction: The induction rate in the air force has been slow.
  • MIG 21 is accident prone as mentioned.
  • Cost of making aircrafts indigenously has proved to be costly.
  • Two front war; The concern for the military in general for the country and for the political leadership is to manage the two fronts.
  • There is a lack of collaboration between PSUs and the private sector wrt airforce.


Need for new Doctrine in Air Force:

  • Technology has progressed exponentially: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are being refined to mimic human cognitive abilities and intuition.
    • Their incorporation would be a challenge that needs doctrinal analysis.


Vital infrastructure for Air Force:

  • Combat enablers such as aerial refuellers
  • Airborne Warning and Control System
  • Transport and helicopter fleets
  • Radars
  • Communication systems, etc.


Way Forward

  • Doctrine drives technology: given the ongoing advancements, the IAF doctrine would have to spell out new methods to meet the challenges of the mid-century.
  • The roles and missions of the IAF would have to be re-assessed since space will be a major, if not a central, player in future conflicts.
  • Emphasis on unmanned platforms and space assets, including a capability for satellites on call would be necessary.
  • Air power with its niche strike, Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and precision attack capabilities should be merged in the drive towards jointness.
  • The IAF’s new doctrine must accept acceleration of fresh thought, even as it acknowledges that new technology would result in an information overload which actually accentuates stress in human resources.
  • Out of Political prism: The IAF doctrine must underscore that ‘national defense should not be filtered through a prism of the political dispensation.
  • India as a regional power: these combat support assets are also vital for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that are important cogs in military diplomacy and foreign policy



Q. How is the S-400 air defense system technically superior to any other system presently available in the world ?(UPSC 2021) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)