He was then the Commanding Officer of 17 Squadron and was operating from Srinagar.
New Delhi: Twenty years after the Kargil war, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa pointed to the intelligence shortcomings during the 1999 conflict but said the Indian Air Force was "very well ready" for a full spectrum of warfare from sub-conventional to nuclear threats.
Speaking on a seminar organised to mark 20 years of 'Operation Safed Sagar' carried out during the Kargil war, he said the Air Force has evolved and is ready for a full spectrum of warfare where it can tackle sub-conventional to nuclear threats.
"..Like all good generals we are prepared to fight the last war. If Kargil comes again, we are very well prepared... IAF has evolved in a manner slowly. The force is ready for a full spectrum warfare from sub-conventional to nuclear warfare," Dhanoa said on the 20th anniversary of the Kargil War.
He was then the Commanding Officer of 17 Squadron and was operating from Srinagar and reminisced the air action that took place during the Kargil conflict.
Commenting on the aerial superiority enjoyed by the IAF in the Kargil war, the air chief said, "Pakistani documents that came out ten years after the Kargil conflict show that they always lamented the fact that we had a superior beyond visual range strike advantage and that is why they were staying away from us."
"The fire and forget BVRs came in the Su-30, MiG 29 UPG but their decision cycle being faster than us they were able to upgrade their technology at a rate faster than us and ours is starting just now," Dhanoa said.
Highlighting the intelligence gap during the Kargil war, Dhanoa saide "I confirmed when later I came in as Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) that we had no clue that the entire Pakistani Air Force had deployed, if you read their literature, on May 14. This fact was not known and May 14-15 in Bhatinda, we were not told about it."
Highlighting the precision strike capability of the force displayed during the Balakot airstrikes, Dhanoa said, "In case required, we can do all-weather bombing even through clouds very accurately."
"We have seen an attack carried out on the February 26 that we are capable of carrying out precision strike from standoff distances and very accurately," said Dhanoa while listing the precision attack capabilities acquired by the IAF after the Kargil conflict.
The IAF Chief also spoke about the operational limitations that existed in 1999 and the innovative ways adopted by the IAF to overcome the difficulties during the conflict.
At the seminar, former chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis also spoke on the situations faced by the service during the 1999 war and how they were overcome to win the battle.