Better to Upgrade Old Mirage than Buying New Sukhois: Naik

Air Chief Marshal PV Naik has said that it’s better option to upgrade old Mirage fighter aircraft than buying new fighter planes, said media reports.

“When you buy an (fighter) aircraft it is not only the aircraft that you buy, you spend money in training people, erecting infrastructure, logistics, spares supply and life time support,” Naik said in response to a query as to why Air Force was spending millions of dollars in upgrading old Mirages as the money could well be used in buying new Sukhois.

“The residual life of the 50 odd Mirages that are left is another 20 years. If I throw them away I have wasted 20 years of that residual life. But upgrading them, with the infrastructure already available, seems a better option, considering the life time cost,” he was quoted as saying.

Speaking about the IAF’s long-term perspective planning, he said, “Wherever there is residual useful life left, in any system not only aircraft, we try and upgrade so that at least part of that residual life is used. But wherever there is no residual life left we try and replace.”

Responding to a query about the role of Air Force in coastal security, he said that the Indian Navy has acquired crucial assets for the same purpose, said report.

“For coastal security, fighter aircraft are not required. For that you require slow moving aircraft which can have cameras and other sensors,” Naik was quoted as saying.

“As far as Air Force is concerned there is one great asset we can use for coastal security and that is the UAVs (Unmanned Ariel Vehicles). They are already being used in areas like Haraminala,” he was quoted as saying.

(Based on internet reports)

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