In a historic step for the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Government has approved the creation of a new branch, called the Weapon Systems (WS) branch, the Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.
The creation of the Weapon Systems branch would entail unification of all weapon system operators under one entity dedicated to the operational employment of all ground-based and specialist airborne weapon systems, the ministry said in a statement.
The branch would encompass operators in four specialised streams of Surface-to-Surface missiles, Surface-to-Air missiles, Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Weapon System Operators in twin/multi-crew aircraft. The branch will contribute immensely by enhancing the war fighting capability of the Indian Air Force, the Ministry of Defense said.
The Indian Air Force celebrated its 90th anniversary today in Chandigarh and featured a dazzling air display over the Sukhna Lake with as many as 80 aircraft. A new combat uniform was also unveiled today.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall VR Chaudhary, the chief guest, reviewed the parade and announced the creation of a new operational branch of the Air Force.
“On this historic occasion, it’s my privilege to announce that the government has approved the creation of a Weapon System Branch for the officers in the IAF. This is the first time since independence that a new operational branch is being created. This will essentially be for manning of force specialised streams of surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, remotely piloted aircraft, and weapon system operators in twin and multi-crew aircraft,” Air chief VR Chaudhary said.
Asserting that the combat potential of the Indian Air Force has to be sustained through the induction of modern fighter jets, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said his force has initiated steps to ensure that the squadron strength remains at the desired levels.
The statement by the IAF comes at a time when the force has gone down to 30 squadrons instead of the 42 squadrons sanctioned by the government for it to be able to combat China and Pakistan simultaneously.