India confident of getting into NSG, says External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj | India is working with China to win support | India will not oppose any country's membership proposal, EAM told a news conference | India gets first women fighter pilots | A history was created when the three women fighter pilots conferred with the President’s Commission | The pilots are Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi, Flying Officer Bhawana Kanth and Flying Officer Mohana Singh | The commissioning ceremony, witnessed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, held at Air Force Academy, Dundigal | India joined the select few nations in the world that have women fighter pilots in their Air Forces | Boeing, Tata Establish Aerospace Facility in Hyderabad | Defence Minister Parrikar initiated the ground-breaking ceremony to establish the facility | India's indigenous Basic Trainer Aircraft HTT-40 takes to the skies on inaugural flight June 17 | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar witnessed the flight in Bangalore | The HTT-40 was built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd | HTT-40 all set to be the IAF's trainer aircraft | Civil Aviation Ministry Unveils New Civil Avaition Policy | IAF MiG-27 Crashes near Jodhpur | The aircraft was airborne from Jodhpur Air Base and was on a routine training-flying sortie | The two pilots, onboard the fighter jet, ejected to safety | A Court of Inquiry ordered to investigate the accident | After Switzerland, Mexico supports India's entry into NSG | Modi thanks Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto after bilateral talks | Modi receives unprecedented applause in US Congress | Recalling Abraham Lincoln, Modi describes Capitol Hill as a Temple of Democracy | India will never forget the solidarity shown by the US against 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008 | Modi supports cooperation in maintaining Freedom of Navigation in the Seas | India, US Civil Nuclear Deal changed bilateral ties | Modi describes terrorism as a big global threat and calls for isolation of those who harbour terrorism | India joins MTCR | Italy, which had blocked india's entry into the missile control regime, let it happen this time | President Obama had promised US help to India, and he has fulfilled it just as Prime Minister Modi is visiting Washington | India had applied for membership on June 1, and as there was no objection, its entry was automatic | Modi lays wreath at Space Shuttle Columbia memorial | India-born Kalpana Chawla was among the seven astronauts who perished in the tragedy in 2003 | Modi also meets Sunita Williams, another India-born astronaut | Hillary Clinton winning Democratic nomination for US presidency | Formal announcement in July | Switzerland categorically supports India for NSG membership | Mexico also expected to express support as US anchors India's entry into MTCR and NSG | Indian PM Modi lands in Washington June 6 for a bilateral summit | Entry into MTCR likely to be announced June 7 or 8 | Italy agrees to India's entry in the Missile Technology Control Regime after return of both its marines held in India | Prime Minister Narendra Modi Embarks on 5-day 5-nation Tour June 4 | The Prime Minister is to Visit Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, US and Mexico from June 4-8 | PM Modi inaugurated Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam in Herat, Afghanistan | Mr Modi Conferred with the Highest Civilian Honour of Afghanistan 'Amir Amanullah Khan Award' | President Ashraf Ghani bestowed the award to PM Modi after inauguration of the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam | India Signs Hague Code against Missile Proliferation | India, US Sign Arrangement for the Exchange of Terrorist Screening Information June 2 | The Arrangement Signed by US Ambassador Richard Verma and Indian Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi |
 

Army Aviation
The Arm of the Future

 

 
 
By Gulshan Luthra Published: September 2011
 
 
 
 
 

New Delhi. India’s Army Aviation Corps is marking its Silver Jubilee this year with hopes of doubling its helicopter fleet and also inducting dedicating combat helicopters some time in the near future.

 

The Corps held a two-day seminar recently with the title “Army Aviation: The Arm of the Future,” clearing indicating its emphasis on the requirement of helicopters in possible future battles, which would be fluid and fast-changing, and would need capable flying machines to support the Indian Army’s armour and troops 24 x 7.

The Indian Army was stated to have half the strength of Pakistan Army’s helicopter fleet of more than 550, and of course, most of the helicopters with the Indian armed forces are in any case of Soviet vintage and outdated.

There was a general demand from serving and retired Army officers for moving the combat and heavy lift helicopters from the Indian Air Force to the Army for operationally better results. At present, IAF holds these assets, and IAF pilots operate them in coordination with the Army.

Defence Minister A K Antony, who inaugurated the seminar, said it would be best if the Armed Forces sorted out the matter of sharing assets between themselves and that if needed, he could help play a limited role. Former Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Arun Prakash, also said that any inter-Services issues should be sorted out by the three Chiefs themselves, and that in the spirit of give-and-take, the Army and Navy should also accede to the IAF’s suggestion for exclusively controlling the Space Command.

The minister however said that the Government did understand the changing nature of warfare, terrorism and asymmetric threats, and was committed to the modernization of the Indian armed forces. But, he observed:

“Although you (Army Aviation Corps) are going in for force accretion, while enhancing your capabilities and performing your role, you must ensure that there is perfect synergy between the Army and Air Force. Services will have to act in reconciliation amongst themselves so that India can have better and strong and Armed Forces.”

Younger IAF and Army officers pointed out that the exist ing arrangement had worked well in terms of IAF-Army coordination but senior officers observed that it would be best if Army pilots flew the helicopters in the battlefield in close support of their colleagues on the ground. That was the trend the world over, and should be so in case of India also.

Notably, IAF is set to acquire 22 combat helicopters and 15 heavy lift helicopters from a choice of US and Russian machines – depending upon the capabilities and price – but these are paid for out of the Army’s budget as they would be used for support of the ground troops. For a country the size of India, this is a relatively small number, and there would perhaps be a repeat acquisition in the coming years.

At present, both the heavy lift and combat helicopters with the IAF are of 25-year Soviet vintage with obsolete onboard systems. IAF has already submitted the technical evaluation reports to the Ministry of Defence and a decision is expected by year-end or March 2012.

Officers from the Navy, Air Force, think tanks and paramilitary bodies also took part in the seminar, co-hosted by the Army Aviation and the Centre for Land Warfare studies (CLAWS), the Indian Army’s think tank.

Army Chief Gen V K Singh said that emergence of 4th and 5th generation threats, increasing tempo, net centric warfare and newer weapons had placed new demands for capability and strength and all assets of the Army have to be made integral to a theatre of operation.

Army Aviation provides a commander the opportunity to maneuver and “fleeting opportunities” in a battle can be effectively exploited by airborne assets.

Adm Arun Prakash, a naval aviator, said in his Special address that the power of aviation is “omnipotent” and that once air dominance is achieved in the battle theatre, “the war is virtually won.” Aviation assets can play a role in achieving decisive victories, “swiftly and cheaply.”

Lt Gen V K Ahluwalia, Colonel Commandant of the Corps, gave a brief history of its evolution when it was first raised on Nov 1, 1986 from the Artillery’s Air Observation Post (AOP) units. Its pilots later flew in operations in Sri Lanka as well as in India.

Helicopters and air assets, he said, would help in dislocation of an adversary in the shortest possible time, and simultaneously, provide the benefits of surprise, maneuver, capability and logistics support to own units. He also emphasized on the requirement of multi role aircraft with electronic warfare and night attack capabilities.

Lt Gen Anil Chait observed that aviation is a great asset, “giving the power of the edge” to the Indian Army’s field commanders. It can help concentrate combat power at the right place, compress time lines and facilitate multi-tasking. Integrated employment of air land battle assets can disrupt an enemy’s buildup and facilitate speedy victory.

He pointed out that the future battles would be Technology driven, all weather, day and night 24 x 7, and dominated by aviation assets including the UAVs and UCAVs. Accordingly, the Indian Army has to keep up with the technologies and pace of changes to make its aviation assets a game changer.

It will be “the arm of decision,” he observed.

The seminar was also addressed by Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, Director CLAWS, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Retd), Lt gen K S Jamwal (Retd), Lt Gen V G Patankar (Rtetd), Lt Gen Sumer Singh, HAL’s Helicopter Division Managing Director Soundra Rajan, Lt Gen B S Pawar (Retd) and Lt Gen V K Kapoor (Retd).

Maj Gen P K Bharali, Additional Director General of the Army Aviation, briefed the participants on the growth of the Corps.

It may be noted that from 1984 onwards, Army Aviation has been in the forefront of operations to control the icy peaks in the Siachen Glacier, which is perhaps the ultimate frontier for any soldier. Army Aviators routinely operate at 22,000 feet around the glacier, providing the proverbial lifeline for Indian soldiers in the tough terrain there.

The Army Aviation Corps has taken part in a number of UN missions, and several disaster relief operations within India.

The Corps inducted the first HALmade Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv in 2001. Since then, this fleet has grown rapidly and is already on the path to becoming its mainstay for day and night operations.

Army Aviation is also set to acquire the Mark III Electronic Warfare (EW) and Mark IV armed version of ALH in the coming few months.

 
  © India Strategic  
     
   
 
Top Stories
India Gets First Women Fighter Pilots
Fifteen Nursing Students Commissioned into MNS
India’s Indigenous Trainer Aircraft HTT-40 Takes off
Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology Celebrates Diamond Jubilee
Assam Regiment Marks Platinum Jubilee
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Reviews Passing Out Parade at OTA, Gaya
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Director RS Sundar Awarded the Russian Order of Friendship
Indian Coast Guard, Korea Coast Guard Participate in Anti-piracy Exercise
India Joins MTCR
What is MTCR?
Malabar-2016 to increase interoperability among IN, USN and JMSDF
Maharashtra Naval Unit NCC Cadets Get Sailing Experience Onboard INS Trikand
VEcare: Army Helpline for Veterans
India becomes Co-chair of Working Group on Maritime Situational Awareness
World’s Space Agencies Unite to Face the Climate Challenge
Exercise Desert Eagle-II Concludes
India, US Sign Arrangement for Exchange of Terrorist Screening Information
Two-day DRDO Directors Conclave Ends
Seminar on International Day of UN Peacekeepers
Indian Warships on Visit to Subic Bay, Philippines
 
   
 Home | Contact Us| In the Press| Links| Downloads
© 2008-14, India Strategic. All rights reserved.