Directed Energy, Hypersonic Weapons Must For India To Become Aerospace Force: IAF Chief

New Delhi: Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said on Tuesday that the Indian Air Force should become an “aerospace force”; and that the Indian defense industry needs to work on advanced directed energy and hypersonic weapons, reported news agency PTI.

In his inaugural speech to the “PHDCCI DEF X TECH INDIA 2023,” he also stressed the importance of adopting future technologies and stated that future wars will be fought on land, air, sea, and space. The head of the IAF stated that the nation’s weapons will differ after 100 years of independence, adding that directed energy and hypersonic weapons have already been “tested and employed” by other nations.

“The weapons of India at 100 would look very different from weapons of India at 75. Directed energy weapons (DEWs) and hypersonic weapons have already been tested and employed. DEWs, particularly lasers, provide significant advantages over traditional weapons such as precision engagement, low-cost per shot, logistical benefits and low detectability,” he said.

“Our defence industries need to further the development of these weapons and also integrate them onto airborne platforms to get desired ranges and accuracy,” the IAF chief said.

Lasers, microwaves, particle beams, and sound beams are examples of DEWs, which are weapons that can be fired from a distance and inflict damage on their target without using a solid projectile. Weapons that can travel at speeds between five and 25 times the speed of sound are known as hypersonic weapons.

Additionally, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari emphasised the necessity of expanding India’s aerospace capabilities.

He added, “categorically stated that it is now time for the Indian Air Force to become an aerospace force and be ready to protect the country from ever evolving threats” from the defense minister.

He stated that the private sector’s entry into space technologies is demonstrating a process of democratization.

“The endeavour is to dramatically reduce costs of developing, launching and operating spacecraft for applications… Civilian space travel, a dream 25 years ago, is today a reality,” Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said.

“The race to weaponise space has already started and the day is not far when our next war could be spread across all domains of land, air, sea and space. Therefore, I feel there is a need to develop both offensive and defensive space capabilities to safeguard our assets,” he said.

“Capitalise on our initial successes in space and prepare ourselves for the future,” the IAF chief stated.

He called upon the Indian aerospace industry alongside different players, for example, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Safeguard Space technology to team up for the future and added that privately owned businesses are being supported in this space.

The IAF chief said while the “military impact” of space innovation on the continuous struggle in Ukraine is quite unclear, it is relevant that “we develop such technology in-house with these developments”.

He stated, “However, we must be cognisant of the technology to be within the contours of national policy, security and objectives.”

The IAG chief stated that in the digital age, where knowledge is a central resource, societal and economic considerations of a state typically determine how a war is waged.

“Glimpses of these are quite evident in the ongoing conflict in Europe. Over the years, the Indian Air Force has proved its capacity across the entire spectrum of conflict, ranging from peace, no war no peace and conflict situations,” he said.

According to Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari, the IAF is undergoing transformation in order to fight and win future wars.  He stated, “We are in the process of acquiring and operationalising cutting edge systems… At the same time, the task of upgrading the existing image of aircraft weapons and other combat systems continues unabated.”