Russia-Ukraine confrontation a deep multi-domain operation: IAF chief

According to Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhari, the current battle between Russia and Ukraine broadcasts full multi-domain activities taking place. He explained, “This is the first time we’ve seen the deployment of true hybrid warfare… We’re seeing the use of drones, hypersonic weapons, aircraft of all sizes and types, and ground forces working in unison amid economic sanctions and diplomatic clout.The IAF commander also noted there was a lot to be learned from the Russian-Ukrainian war during a speech at a all india management association event. Will it be through soft power? Will it be a whole host of all of these? It’s mostly about being able to re-imagine, re-invent , to be able to rededicate and hold back for future conflicts,” he added, speaking at the All India Management Association’s event titled “The Future of Air Warfare: Securing the sky and beyond.” The Indian Air Force Chief said: “Over the past 20 years, we have ns witnessed unprecedented technological developments that have totally changed the way we live, socialize and work. adding to that, he said, “Our social media followers are as much a part of our lives as our immediate family. Our growing reliance on technology has reached such a point where the modern generation is more likely to ask Siri if it’s daylight rather than opening windows to see if it is.”

Despite its borders, the world has become a much smaller place since the introduction of the internet and social media platforms. Wars are traditionally fought on land, at sea, in the air and, in some ways, in space. This spectrum has expanded over the past two decades to cover cyber and information domains. The first four realms are physical, while the other two are virtual. The impact of cyber and information warfare on the conduct of conventional battles has resulted in the emergence of a new spectrum of hybrid and multi-domain conflicts, rendering previous tactics and methods obsolete. “Therefore, to secure our borders, it is imperative to reimagine, reform, redesign and rebuild our traditional war machinery and adapt to this new emerging paradigm,” he noted. “As we become increasingly interconnected, a cyber attack on our networks can cripple command and control structures. What I’m trying to say is that in the next war, the enemy might not not be a country or an organization. We may never know the perpetrators of a distributed denial of service attack and we will not know when and from where the attack will take place.” “In the future, we could be attacked on all fronts, ranging from economic strangulation to diplomatic isolation and military confrontations to information blackouts in the form of distributed denial of service attacks. will happen long before the first bullet is fired or the first plane crosses the border.”

All future battles are expected to be hybrid in form, with a spectrum of conflict ranging from conventional to sub-conventional, kinetic to non-kinetic, and lethal to non-lethal, all under the umbrella of a nuclear overhang. We are talking about weapons ranging from a small computer virus to hypersonic missiles. The Indian Air Force has also faced challenges over the past two years. At the height of the pandemic, the situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated. The IAF was on high alert while fully supporting the country’s anti-covid campaign. “Our fleet of transport aircraft has flown to 18 countries, logging more than 4,800 flight hours in approximately 2,900 sorties, delivering aid to our friends around the world,” he said. Additionally, more than 2,600 flight hours were flown domestically transporting and positioning oxygen and medical supplies wherever they were needed. The total distance traveled was over 27 lakh kilometers, which is like flying to the moon and back – 4 times that.” All of this added to the threat on our northern borders and while maintaining round-the-clock availability , 7 days a week to deal with any eventuality” he added. The Indian Air Force flew 240 hours in four countries during the recently ended Op-Ganga, bringing 2,826 Indians back from the combat zone.

Other projects

What plans does the IAF have to be ready to fight and win the conflicts of tomorrow? The conflicts of the past decades have unequivocally demonstrated the primacy of air power as the weapon of choice for virtually all operational contingencies. Even today, the estimated advantage provided by the “high ground” is an essential criterion. Air power gives this height and the ability to hit targets at great depth with speed and precision, bypassing deployed forces. Space has recently been widely used as the ultimate high ground from which nations’ forces can operate with impunity. In the chaos of war, it is essential to have a clear view of the combat zone and the opponent’s intentions. At the operational level, this would provide the commander with plenty of latitude to make dynamic changes and shape the battlefield. “We are actively pursuing the development of niche technologies in space capabilities, data link and AI-based decision support systems to shorten the loop from sensor to gunner and to make the lifecycle of very responsive targeting,” he said.

Access to advanced technology

Easy access to high-tech equipment creates new challenges for traditional forces. Drones used in the Yemeni-Saudi conflict, drones used with fighter jets in the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict, and unsubstantiated rumors of Ukrainians employing drones against Russian forces are all examples of future warfare technologies. “We have also doctrinally included the use of drones in our operations scheme to benefit from some of the unique attributes of these platforms. At the same time, we are pursuing unmanned combat systems and their integration with platforms manned fighters in what is called a man-machine association concept,” he said. Hypersonic weapons are at the other end of the spectrum, and there have been rumors that some of them would be used in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.The Air Force is heavily involved in weapons research and development as well as the development of countermeasures “We set out a roadmap for adding new capabilities and harnessing modern technology, making technological innovation an integral part of our security apparatus.” This thought started a process of retooling, retraining and remodeling of our security infrastructure,” said the IAF chief.