New Delhi: Ace fighter pilot Norman Anil Kumar Browne today took over as the 23rd chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, who retired after putting in 42 years of service.
Soon after taking over, Browne said his priorities as IAF chief would be to "enhance operational capability, continue with the modernisation drive of the force and most importantly to look after our people."
"To my mind that is the most important asset that we have," 59-year-old Browne, who has 3,100 flying hours to his credit, said.
He has taken over as the IAF chief at a time when the force is undergoing massive modernisation and is looking to induct a large number of new weapon platforms, including the 126 combat aircraft, the C-17 strategic heavy-lift aircraft along with a host of different types of choppers.
In his first address to air warriors, Browne said, "The IAF is well poised on path of transforming itself into a potent strategic force."
Outlining his vision statement for the IAF of 'People First Mission Always', Browne said, "While induction of state-of-the-art equipment and major systems leads to up-gradation of our combat potential, our people must receive our highest attention.
"I firmly believe that each one has a duty to take care and look after people placed under our charge. It is a sacred calling for all leaders, men and women, irrespective of rank and position. Our endeavour should be to empower our subordinates, by giving them required operational skills," he said.
Observing that the IAF was operating a broad spectrum of vintage equipment, Browne said this would test "our innovativeness and capabilities."