South Asia and Beyond

IAF Eastern Air Command: An Assessment Of Capabilities And Challenges

New Delhi: In the third part of our series, Eastern Front Airpower, Air Marshal D.K.Patnaik(Retd), Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command (EAC) from October 2021 to September 2022, assesses the challenges and capabilities of the EAC. In this interview with StratNews Global Associate Editor, Amitabh P. Revi, Air Marshal Patnaik explains the vast area the EAC deals with, including five countries’ borders(especially the Chinese occupied Tibet LAC in Arunachal Pradesh and the critical ‘Chicken’s Neck’ in West Bengal), the changes in assets over the decades, the challenges in the area’s altitude, weather, topography and terrain, the advantages the Indian Air Force has over China’s PLAAF because Indian bases are at near sea level, while the adversary has high altitude airfields, air defences including the S-400 missile system, dealing with PLAAF manned and unmanned aircraft near the LAC, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance(ISR) technologies, drones and hypersonic glide technologies, the impact the MQ-9B drones, GE engines, Safran helicopter engines will have if and when the deals fructify, and India’s capabilities of reach from the Sunda Strait to the Persian Gulf.

Editor’s Note: This interview was recorded on July 15, 2023

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