The chronic inter-services war between the Indian Air Force and Indian Army over the use of attack helicopters continues to fester. After the Indian Army made an official request to the government late last year to give it full control over all tactical air assets in the battlefield, including attack helicopter flights, the IAF today had its say again. The IAF, remember, is on the threshold of contracting for 22 new attack helicopters to augment its two Mi attack squadrons.
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Norman Browne was firm today. He said, “The attack helicopter issue is an old issue. There is a document called the Joint Army Air Instruction (JAAI) of 1986 which authorises roles and responsibilities of who does what. The IAF has always operated helicopters of all kinds. The Army’s charter is confined to light utility helicopters. The two squadrons of attack helicopters we currently operate are manned and maintained by the IAF, but under command and control of the Army. That is the rule position.”
Photo / Maj VK Singh, MoD Photo Division