IAF going in for massive upgrade of airfields, helipads

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by sandeepdg, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 5, 2009
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    NEW DELHI: From new Sukhoi-30MKI bases at Chabua (Assam), Halwara (Punjab) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan) to one for Tejas fighters in Sulur (Tamil Nadu), IAF is going in for a massive upgrade of its airfield and helipad infrastructure across the country.

    This will not only bolster operational logistics and flexibility on both the eastern and western fronts with China and Pakistan, apart from plugging existing gaps over central and peninsular India, but also make IAF airbases more accessible to civilian aircraft.

    This is in tune with IAF's aim to have 42 fighter squadrons by 2022, up from the existing 32, with progressive induction of 270 Sukhois, 126 multi-role combat aircraft, 120 indigenous Tejas Light Combat aircraft and the first lot of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft to be developed with Russia.

    A major endeavour in all this is the soon-to-be-launched MAFI (modernisation of airfield infrastructure) programme, under which 30 of IAF's 51 operational airbases will be upgraded in Phase-I over 42 months.

    " Commercial negotiations with the Tata Power-led consortium for MAFI Phase-I, at a cost of around Rs 1,300 crore, is in the final stages now. Bhatinda airbase will be taken up as the pilot project,'' said a source.

    Under Phase-II, remaining IAF, Army, Navy and Coast Guard airfields will be modernised. The upgrade includes resurfacing, expansion and lighting of runways for night operations as well as installation of new tactical navigational (TACAN), instrument landing (Cat-2 ILS), air traffic management and air-to-ground radio communication (RCAG) systems.

    The North-East is a major thrust area, with upgrade of airbases in Chabua, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Mohanbari, Hasimara, Guwahati and Bagdogra, among others. The Tezpur airbase already houses Sukhois after it underwent an upgrade last year.

    Then, after reactivating western sector ALGs (advanced landing grounds) like Daulat Beg Oldi, Fukche and Nyama in eastern Ladakh, IAF is now concentrating on upgrading eastern sector ALGs like Pasighat, Mechuka, Walong, Tuting, Ziro and Vijaynagar as well as several helipads in Arunachal.

    This is meant to strategically counter China's massive build-up of military infrastructure all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control, which includes 14 airbases directed against India in Tibet.

    The focus on the western front, of course, remains as sharp as before. The Phalodi airbase in Rajasthan, just 102 km away from the Pakistan border, for instance, began fighter operations earlier this year.

    "The aim is to make all the bases capable of operating all kinds of aircraft. This will, for instance, allow our IL-78 mid-air refuellers to support fighters from virtually anywhere in the country,'' said the source.

  3. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

    Aug 27, 2011
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    MAFI: IAF boosting airfields along LAC

    MAFI: IAF boosting airfields along LAC

    In an effort to bolster military infrastructure along the borders facing China and Pakistan, the IAF is modernising at least 30 airfields with state-of-the-art navigational aids and electronic devices. The Government gave the go-ahead for this plan earlier this year and the project is likely to be completed within 42 months at a cost of Rs 1,219.99 crore.

    Appreciating the strategic importance of military infrastructure in the backdrop of China rapidly modernising its military capabilities along the 4,500 km long of Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Government has also allowed the Army, Navy and Coast Guard to improve their airfields in Phase-II.

    The project for “Modernisation of Air Field Infrastructure (MAFI)” is planned in two phases under which 30 airfields of IAF form part of Phase-I and the balance of the IAF, Army, Navy and Coast Guard airfields will be taken up in Phase-II.

    The contract for MAFI Phase-I was signed in March this year with Tata Power at a cost of Rs 1,219.99. The project envisages a time-bound programme wherein modern navigational aids will get installed and integration and calibration of all other aviation related systems with automated air traffic management at Air Traffic Control (ATC).

    Besides this, the IAF is also procuring surveillance radar elements, precision approach radars, UHF ground-to-air radio sets and commutated automatic direction finder systems to upgrade the equipment at its airfields, officials said here on Sunday.

    Given the threat perception vis-à-vis China, the IAF has already activated three advanced landing grounds in Ladakh region in the last three years including Nayoma, Fuche and Daulat Beg Oldie. All these airfields are located at heights of more than 15,000 feet and can accommodate helicopters and transport planes thereby ensuring year round supplies of logistics.

    Similarly, six advanced landing grounds are now operational in Arunachal Pradesh and troops deployed along the LAC are assured of regular logistical supplies. Incidentally, the nearest road to most of the advanced landing grounds and LAC are more than five to six days of foot march.

    Keeping in view the growing logistical requirements, the IAF has recently procured six C-130J transport planes at a cost of 962.4 million dollars from the US and plans to buy 10 C-17 Globemasters from the US. The estimated cost of 10 C-17s is 4.116 billion dollars and they are expected to join the IAF between June 2013 and June 2015. The induction of C-130J started in February this year and five aircraft are already in IAF service and sixth plane is likely to join in the next few weeks.

    MAFI: IAF boosting airfields along LAC

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