Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Air Marshal Vibhas Pande, Maintenance Command Chief of the Indian Airforce, said on Thursday that though the current Russia-Ukraine conflict has affected the supply chain globally, due to indigenisation in the Indian Airforce, it has not affected the country "very badly".
"The best part is that we have inherent capabilities. Su30 is an HAL-manufactured aircraft. Over a period of time, HAL has also indigenized a lot of equipment that is needed for the operation of Su-30, especially for day-to-day requirements. So it (Russia-Ukraine conflict) has not actually affected us very badly because of indigenization which has happened at HAL as well as BRDs. BRDs have indigenized ARS (automated replenishment systems)," the Air Marshal said speaking to ANI.
Speaking on how the current conflict in Ukraine has led to challenges in supply in the Indian Airforce, Pande said, "The current conflict has affected the supply chain globally...about 40 per cent of our inventory, as of date, with fighter aircraft and all aircraft put together, is from conflict zones."
"When I say conflict zone, it is not only from Russia but we also have An-32 on our strength which is from Ukraine... The supplies have been affected...Apart from that, for Russian fleets, we get a lot of support in terms of the Mi17 fleet. All of them have been affected," he added.
The Air Marshal however pointed out that it is only in the field of design or structural problems that India needs to wait for support from Russia or Ukraine.
"If we have any problems related to design or structural problems, we may have to wait for support from Russia or Ukraine to arrive here and provide us with the necessary assistance. But courtesy of our indigenization drive that started during the breakup of the USSR, it has sailed us through, and we are not being affected very badly...," Pande said.
The Air Marshall said that in the face of all challenges whether the pandemic or the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Indian Airforce has strengthened its resolve to be self-reliant.
"All the criticalities we faced, like COVID-19, have only strengthened our resolve to become self-reliant...This particular conflict (Russia-Ukraine) has given us a further shot in the arm to make sure we move on that path with a little more determination...," he said.
Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Pande said, "Fortunately, it has also been supported by the Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission of our Prime Minister... Nearly 90 per cent of consumables are sourced from indigenous sources...That is how we have been trying to address the maintenance issue or lack of supply..."
Speaking about emergency procurements in recent times, Vibhas Pande said, "...We had a series of emergency procurements happen... It started in 2019 when we had Balakot... Thereafter, during 2020 in the eastern Ladakh contingency, we had two more sets of emergency procurements...There was a little setback in terms of supplies because of the ongoing conflict, but now we have overcome that..."
The IAF Maintenance Command Chief was at Bhopal for an air display ahead of the Air Force Day celebration.Â "We are here to conduct an air display as a precursor to Air Force Day, which we are going to celebrate on October 8...
The whole purpose of this Air Show is to encourage the youth to join the Air Force and generate curiosity among them about the challenges that the Air Force can offer...We have displayed our band all over Bhopal and also set up a publicity stall to attract youth and explain to them what lies ahead of them when they join the Air Force...," Pande said.