SWAC gets a boost with Su-30MKI squadrons, Akash SAM and radars.
The Indian Air Force's south west air command (SWAC) will have a Su-30MKI squadron permanently based at Jodhpur sometime in the next two years, according to air marshal AK Gogoi, AOC-in-C of SWAC. Speaking here on Wednesday, air marshal Gogoi said the air force was strengthening itself and would be able to deal with any sort of threat especially from Pakistan and China.
Air marshal Gogoi was on a three-day visit to the Jodhpur air base, the headquarters of SWAC, his first after assuming command.
Talking about the deployment of the DRDO-developed medium range, surface-to-air, Akash missile, air marshal Gogoi, two squadrons of these missiles were soon be deployed, of which one will be at Pune, which falls under SWAC's command. The other deployment would be at Gwalior.
"Besides this, six more squadrons will be deployed in the region to check any threat from China," he added.
The air marshal also said the IAF was expecting an increase in the number of fighter squadrons after 2012. The force has been facing shortage of aircraft for a considerable period of time.
"The number of aircraft squadrons is going down so some bases do not have the required squadrons. Only after 2012, when we start to increase the number of squadrons, we can expect permanent basing," Gogoi said.
He was referring to the absence of permanent basing of aircraft squadrons at many air bases.
He also revealed that SWAC was in the process of strengthening its surveillance capabilities by inducting a few state-of-the-art, medium power radars (MPR). The MPR is an AESA system developed for the IAF, which will be able to detect small targets at ranges in excess of 300 km.
"The SWAC will be the first air command to have this modern radar technology," air marshal Gogoi said.
"We have already received it and are in the process of making it functional in Gujarat," he said on the last day of his visit here.
Gogoi further said proposals are on to develop the Deesa airport as a full-fledged air base. "Considering the strategic importance of this base and the development taking place around it, we have mooted a proposal to the defence ministry worth over Rs3,000 crore as first phase to strengthen the infrastructure of this base and we are going to push this proposal during the commanders' conference scheduled shortly," he said.
Deesa like Phalodi air base, is close to the Pakistan border.
Air marshal Gogoi was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in 1973. He has flown over 3000 hours on various aircraft, and is a qualified flying instructor and a fighter combat leader.
Air marshal Gogoi was director general, air operations, at Air HQ prior to his current appointment.
He is a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal.