New Weapon System Branch

IAF Chief Announces Creation Of New Weapon System Branch

Pride and valour echoed in the celebrations of the Indian Airforce which marked the completion of 90 years of its foundation on Saturday. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari lauded the forces and informed that the Indian government approved the creation of a weapon system branch for the officers in IAF.

This year’s anniversary celebrations theme was “IAF: Transforming for the Future”. This aptly highlights the Indian Air Force’s needs to redefine, reimagine and recalibrate to transform into a contemporary and future-ready force.
“It is my privilege to announce that the government has approved the creation of a Weapon System Branch for Officers in the IAF. This is the first time since the independence that a new operational branch has been created,” said Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari.

The move will essentially be for manning four specialised streams of Surface-to-Surface missiles, Surface-to-Air Missiles, Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Weapon System Operators in twin and multi-crew aircraft.

He also informed that the creation of this branch would result in savings of over

Rs 3,400 crore due to reduced expenditure on flying training.

He also stressed the induction of air warriors into IAF through the Agnipath scheme and called it an opportunity to harness the potential of youth in India.

“We have changed our operational training methodology to ensure each Agniveer is

equipped with the right skills and knowledge to start their career in

the Air Force. In December this year, we would be inducting 3,000 Agniveer Vayu for their initial training. This number will only go up in the years to come to ensure adequate staffing,” he added.

He also outlined the plans for the induction of women Agniveers starting next year and informed that the creation of infrastructure is underway and the streamlining of trade structure is being finalised.

Highlighting the jointness amongst three defence forces he said, “There is a need to plan for integrated and joint application of combat power. The key to success in multidomain operations is to have flexible, robust and redundant Command and Control Structures which will allow a joint force to dominate across domains. Work is in progress to enhance the jointness amongst the three services.”

The Indian Air Force on Saturday began celebrations to mark its 90 years of foundation at the Sukhna Lake.

This is the first time that the annual parade and fly-past are being held outside Delhi-NCR.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wished the force early this morning.

“Greetings and best wishes to all courageous IAF air warriors and their families on the Indian Air Force Day. The IAF is known for its valour, excellence, performance and professionalism. India is proud of its men and women in blue. Wishing them blue skies and happy landings,” Singh tweeted.

The IAF conducted an hour-long air show at the lake with participation by nearly 80 military aircraft and helicopters, including the recently inducted indigenously-built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) “Prachand” will showcase their aerial prowess during the fly-past.

Air Force Day marks the official induction of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1932. Every year, the day is celebrated in the presence of the Indian Air Force chief and senior officers. The Air Force was officially raised as the supporting force of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom in 1932 and the first operational squadron was created in 1933. Major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai since 1950. (ANI)

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‘Army Is A Family; We Can’t Abandon Our Boys After 4 Years’

Major (Retd) A Singh says he was appalled to see Services Chiefs acting as Govt spokesmen to defend the new recruitment scheme. His take on Agnipath

Although the Agnipath scheme seeks to cut costs for Indian defence establishment – which is a long pending reform – the manner in which the Government launched the scheme is shocking. Any decision or scheme that impacts the masses must pass through a public debate, open discussion and resultant feedback. But, as in the case of GST, demonetisation or 2000 lockdown, the Government has in one swift stroke ruined the ambition and aspiration of millions of youth.

I have served the Indian Army for several years – I voluntarily retired as a Major in 2004 – and I can vouch that such a scheme goes against the ethos of our defence services. Indian Armed Forces serve as a large family unit as per their tradition, culture and ethics. Armed forces are not a tourist venture that will abandon their boys after a four-year tour of duty.

Ideally, such a scheme needs a pilot project and phased implementation. This will entail a small unit of recruits, say 10%, to be hired as Agniveers while the rest follow standard permanent recruitment. On the basis of the pros and cons of the first experimental Agniveer unit, the Defence establishment may decide on its future.

Everyone remembers how many times the entire GST framework and its rulebook were changed to suit the new challenges emerging out of its implementation. Ditto with the decisions of demonetisation and lockdown. How the government seems so cocksure about Agnipath’s success beats me. They haven’t learnt anything from their past mistakes.

ALSO READ: ‘Agnipath Has Burnt Down My Dreams, Career’

I was also appalled at the way our Service chiefs appeared on camera to defend this scheme. Do you remember any such occasion in the 75 years of the glorious history of our defence forces when top commanders had to defend a government action? They were clearly forced to act as the spokesperson of the government.

There have been media reports about the plight of thousands of men who had cleared their physical tests for the Armed Forces and were waiting for their joining letters when suddenly this scheme was announced. There was no consideration about their future despite an assurance from the force.

Out of four years in service for Agniveers, the training period will be of six months and there is also a provision for a nine-month leave period. So practically, the Agniveers will have three years of active duty. Can such a brief training and service period produce a skilled and up-to-the-mark soldier? In addition they will not get the rank of an ex-Serviceman.

Various announcements are being made by private industrial houses to absorb Agniveers after returning from the forces, but it is easy to break a promise after four years. Can they be held accountable for these assurances? And God forbid, how will our police forces tackle a situation when these trained but jobless Agniveers, in desperation for work, join some unlawful venture!

As told to Rajat Rai

(The photo used is representational as the narrator requested anonymity for personal reasons)

‘Agnipath Has Burnt Down My Dreams, Career Preparation’

Anshu Mishra, who was preparing hard to join Indian Army, says the Govt decision on Tour of Duty has destroyed the ambitions of millions of youth. His views:

Wake up at 3.30 every morning. Hit the ground for training around 4.30 AM. Run for around 45 minutes. Exercise for another hour. Attend coaching classes and prepare for the written exam during the day. Repeat the running and exercise routine in the evening. Do it every day, without fail. No Sunday, no rest, no break.

This is not the Army training session, but a usual day of an army aspirant like me. I have been following this routine for the last four years and I am not the only one to do so. There are lakhs of such aspirants all across the country who also follow the same routine every day.

Joining the army and donning the uniform is a passion. There are people in the Indian Army from my family, relatives and friends. Since I turned 18, I have been training hard to join the force. I have also appeared in physical tests during the recruitment drive of the Army. Sadly, I missed being qualified twice in the running test by a whisker. I am 21 years and 9 months old now and I had committed to myself to pass the physical test of Army this time. The government’s Tour of Duty (TOD) or Agnipath announcement consigned all my dreams to flames.

Even If I pass the physical, medical and written test this year, I will be out of the Army after four years. Imagine the irony: I trained for four year to get a job that will retire me after four years! All the effort, practice and commitment have blown up in my face. What will I do after the completion of my four-year tenure in the Army? Back to square one. Does the country have that many private jobs?

ALSO READ: ‘Armed Forces In 21st Century Must Be Lean & Mean’

Most Army aspirants come from humble backgrounds. We also have a lot of pressure from the family to start earning. I recently moved from Bihar to Chhattisgarh in search of a job. Along with my army preparation, I was also doing a job of data operator at a private company there. Last month, I quit the job and came back to my hometown so that I could fully focus on my preparation. Now, this Agnipath decision of the government has burnt down all my dreams. Swaha!

Many students are protesting on the streets and venting out their frustration, but a majority of the aspirants are still in total shock. Our brains are numb. We don’t know what to do, how to react.

I think this is the worst decision of the Modi government and they will have to roll it back. The model of other countries can’t be copied and pasted in India. This policy might have serious repercussions in future. I read some posts on social media that raise concerns about the military-trained youth and unemployment will be a lethal combination. Such a posse of men will be susceptible to and can be recruited by criminal gangs for unlawful activities. Those concerns are right. In search of gainful employment, some youths can take the wrong path.

As told to Md Tausif Alam