Phalodi: The decision to curtail the Defence Budget by Rs 10,000 crore will affect Air Force modernisation projects and the issue will be taken up with the government, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said today.

Browne, who was on a visit to Phalodi Air Force Station near Jodhpur, told reporters that the IAF is on a modernisation spree on various fronts and this has been possible "due to generous sanctioning of the budget by the government and its full utilisation".

However, he said, the "curtailment (of budget) will affect modernisation of the Air Force. We will take up the issue with the government in order to work out some solution."

Government has imposed around five per cent cut in the Rs 1.93-lakh-crore defence budget in view of the economic slowdown following which key deals like procurement of 126 multi-role combat aircraft are likely to be pushed to the next fiscal.

The Ministry of Finance recently conveyed to the Defence Ministry that there would be a cut of around Rs 10,000 crore.

 "We look forward to complete modernisation of the IAF by 2022," Browne said, adding that the pace will be affected by the curtailment of budget.

Browne was on a visit to Phalodi Air Force Station where he formally inducted the 5th helicopter unit of the upgraded MI-17 V5, a medium-lift chopper.

The 6th unit of this helicopter will be deployed in Eastern Command at Hashimara air force base in Assam.
"Contract has been signed for 59 more such helicopters," he said.


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