The Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to get financial powers to hire aircraft, including mid-air refuellers, and related equipment for short term in order to address operational emergencies, top defence sources have said, in a move that could cut down on tedious paperwork during crunch situations.
The financial powers that IAF is likely to get for the first time are part of larger reforms by the defence ministry and will help the force obtain critical air assets from private players — and even foreign governments — in a short time frame and for a short duration in case of contingencies, the sources said.
“This is particularly important in the wake of the dwindling defence budget. Any major procurement is a long and a tedious process requiring multiple clearances,” a senior defence officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told News18.com.
Mid-air refuellers act as a force multiplier and add strategic heft to any air force by letting an aircraft stay longer in the air. Though IAF operates a fleet of six Russian IIyushin-78 refuelling tankers, they are facing service issues.