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Indian Air Force to have 35 squadrons of fighter jets next decade

NEW DELHI

The Indian Air Force is unlikely to acquire its sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons with the aid of the next decade even if all the deliberate acquisitions happen on time, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said here on Tuesday.

Even with the well-timed acquisition of 4 squadrons of Tejas LCA Mk-I; 5-6 squadrons of advanced medium combat aircraft – the home-grown fifth-generation fighter jet which is in the development segment – and six squadrons of medium multi-role fighter aircraft (the international tender for buy is yet to be released), the IAF will have solely around 35 squadrons of fight jets in the next decade.

“We would be round 35 fighter squadrons via the subsequent decade in view of the phasing out of old aircraft and induction of new aircraft,” stated Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari at a press conference ahead of the 89th Air Force Day.

The IAF will segment out its closing 4 squadrons of MiG-21BIS in the subsequent 3-4 years for which a drawdown layout has been made. The Jaguars, MiG-29s, and Mirages would additionally be decommissioned by means of the quit of the decade, past which the pressure used to be searching at eighty-three home-grown Tejas LCA Mark-I, which will begin coming from 2024 and the bold AMCA to fill up the gap.

Asked about procurement 114 multi-role fighter aircraft, the Chief of the Air Staff stated the provider had obtained responses from world aviation majors on the Request for Information launched for the mega-deal and awaited the government’s nod to take the concept forward.

The US’s Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III) and Lockheed Martin (F-16 Block 70), Swedish Saab (Gripen E), Russian United Aircraft Corporation (MiG-35), French Dassault Aviation (Rafale), and Airbus (Eurofighter Typhoon) have spoken back to the RFI.

But even if the 114 fighter deal and the AMCA program materialize in time – and it’s large if – India’s squadron electricity will nonetheless be nowhere shut to forty-two squadrons no matter the reality that the IAF prepares for two-front hostility with Pakistan and China.

The pressure is in the method of shopping for 24 phased-out Mirages from France to harvest spare components from such decommissioned planes to hold India’s personal Mirage squadrons operational as discovering out spares for the 35-year-old fleet remained an undertaking after the producer determined to shut the meeting line.

Air Marshal Chaudhari stated the S400 air defense device would be inducted this 12 months and the IAF would quickly award contracts for creating swarm drones; however such development would no longer suggest the pressure may want to reduce down on its fighter strength.

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