Thursday, December 29, 2016

India: Air Force Chief Wants 200-250 New Combat Aircraft

The most senior officer of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha, set to retire on December 31, told reporters on December 28 that the service needs to add 200 to 250 new aircraft in the medium-weight fighter jet category to maintain its edge over regional rivals.

“Over the next 10 years, we must have 200­-250 aircraft. It has to be balanced out. In the heavy-weight spectrum, we have enough. But in the medium-weight category, we need to have more. Yes, about 200 will be very good,” Raha said.

The IAF is currently operating 272 Sukhoi-30 MKI heavy-weight fighters. India and Russia are also in talks to upgrade the aircraft to ‘Super Sukhois’ beginning in 2017, which will entail fitting the Su-30s with new weapons systems and more advanced avionics.
29/12/16 Franz-Stefan Gady/The Diplomat
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