Defence from the Skies: 80 Years of the Indian Air Force (Second Edtion)

Jasjit Singh

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Indian Air Force now completes 80 years since it was formed as an independent component of India’s armed forces. Time and again, the air force has performed magnificently even against severe odds, and built up a professional reputation that is the envy of leading air forces of the word. This volume, as the Second Edition of the earlier volume published in 2007 has been extensively revised and updated.

Air Forces are unique in the sense that they are the only national military institution exclusively devoted to military operations in the aerospace continuum. The Indian Air Force is no different. But their dominant role in modern warfare, the high costs of aerospace power, and a host of other factors demand closer attention to their role in modern defence and the protection of national interests. Air Forces don’t win wars by themselves; and no one in the Indian Air Force has ever claimed it. But no war can be won without them. We learnt that seminal lesson the hard way when we did not use the potent force of the IAF’s combat fleet in the Sino-Indian War of 1962.

It is from this perspective that this study — or rather an interpretative essay reflecting on the significant issues and events of the past 80 years — approaches the challenges the Indian Air Force faces in the coming decades. IAF combat force levels have slumped while its commitments are rapidly growing in consonance with our expanding economic and political interests well beyond our territorial boundaries.

Jasjit Singh Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, AVSM, VrC, VM (retd), awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006 for a life-time’s contribution to national defence and security as the country’s leading strategic expert, is currently the Director General, Centre for Air Power Studies in New Delhi. He earlier headed the country’s premier think-tank, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) for 14 years till 2001. He has authored and edited a large number of books. He is the author and editor-contributor, among others, of Air Power in Modern Warfare (1985); Nuclear India (1998); India’s Defence Spending (2001); The ICON: Biography of Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh DFC (2007); Defence from the Skies (2007); Indian Aircraft Industry (2011);; and India’s National Security (2012). He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, Fellow of Aeronautical Society of India, and member of Editorial Boards of many journals, and has lectured in universities, defence and war colleges in India and abroad, and participated in numerous international conferences abroad. He is on the governing council of ICWA, ICSSR, etc. and Adjunct Professor at Manipal University.



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