Indian Air Force (IAF) to use Fleet Card to draw fuel on the move - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 28 March 2022

Indian Air Force (IAF) to use Fleet Card to draw fuel on the move

IAF convoys can draw fuel during moves from the vast network of retail fuel distributors across the country, without having to route through military stations for refuelling 


Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 29th March 22


Taking a major step towards effective management of fuel logistics for Indian Air Force (IAF) convoys on the move, the Air Force has introduced a “Fleet Card - Fuel on Move” for its varied fleet of vehicles. 


Currently, IAF convoys on the move — say from Jaisalmer to Pathankot — procure fuel for their vehicles from various IAF-linked agencies and stores that fall en route, or from IAF establishments and air bases that they pass through. That constrains road mobility, forcing IAF convoys to necessarily stop at pre-stocked agencies that they pass through.


With the advent of the Fleet Cards, IAF convoys now will be able to draw fuel from the vast network of retail fuel distributors across the country. The measure will greatly enhance rapid mobility of IAF forces across the country who can now take the shortest route between two places without being constrained by the requirement of routing through military stations for refuelling. 


According to the IAF, HQ Western Air Command has been earmarked as lead agency in the implementation and execution of “Fuel on Move”. Availability of Fleet Card will permit the convoy to refuel at any IOCL fuel stations, thus increasing the pace of movement and reducing the lead time for readiness at operational locations across the nation.


Fleet Card was launched by the IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhry, and SM Vaidya, the IOCL chairman, at the Headquarters (HQ) Western Air Command, Subroto Park, on Monday.


The IAF regards itself as the most flexible and responsive arm of the Indian military. It is characterised by quick mobility depending on the tactical requirements.  


Besides directly affecting the ability of the IAF to rapidly redeploy its forces, this measure will have several indirect effects towards enhancing combat potential and efficient logistic management within the IAF. 


Air warriors and other resources that are presently involved on fuel management within the IAF can now be re-allocated towards other operational tasks. “This is in line with the Shekatkar Committee recommendations of improving the Teeth to Tail ratio within the armed forces,” said the IAF in a press release on Monday. 


In addition, fuel retailers in far-flung areas which have an IAF presence, and through which air force convoys are likely to pass will greatly benefit, assisting the local economies.  


The IAF says: “Accounting of fuel will become much more efficient with paperwork being eliminated to a great extent. This is in line with the governments’ thrust towards minimum government- maximum governance.”


The IAF also states that the reduction in paperwork dealing with accounting for, and settling dues will also help the IAF reduce its Carbon Footprint.


The launch of the Fleet Card is the culmination of efforts by various agencies within the IAF and IOCL to quickly switch forces between different air bases, thereby enhancing the IAF’s efficiency and responsiveness.

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