When air power came into being in the 20th Century, it was armies that controlled this new dimensional capability shift. As the fledgling component grew in leaps and bounds, armed forces evolved to have specialist air forces. It was driven by the need to understand and employ air power correctly, which could only be done by those whose profession, careers and lives were mainly devoted to the third dimension. Today, it is inconceivable to venture into a war zone without integrating the best capabilities and specialisations of armies, air forces and navies. In future too, while airpower would play a vital role, the boots on the ground and combat enabling missions of airpower would form the backbone of any success.
The book brings out the heroic exploits of IAF helicopters in the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars in partnership with the Indian Army and their involvement in conflict resolution and nation-building since then. Op Pawan in Sri Lanka and case-studies of UN Operations where the air force blue successfully fought should-to-shoulder with the army OG highlights how jointness was utilized with great effect. The herculean effort of IAF helicopters in nation-building in two critical regions J&K and the North East had to be balanced with the huge commitment to the army jawan over the decades. Keeping in mind the resource constraints, infrastructure costs and cumulative skill levels, the IAF is best placed to operate the large inventory of medium, attack and heavy types of helicopters that is required in the future.
IAF helicopters at this point are well poised to take on the emerging threats of modern warfare. Their experience during Op-Pawan in mid-eighties, and thereafter the involvement in Kargil and anti-Naxal operations has set think-tanks in the IAF to debate the role of helicopters in high intensity and intensely fluid future conflicts.
Author: Air Comd Rajesh Isser, VM
Features: HB, PP