Sunday, December 29, 2019

IAF fighter jet fleet in need of immediate attention

New Delhi: With the MiG-27 fleet having been phased out of the Indian Air Force (IAF), reducing the fighting fleet further, the Ministry of Defence will now push for faster production of Tejas fighter jets and look for other options.
As of yesterday, the IAF was having 31 squadrons (16-18 planes in each) as against the mandated 42 for simultaneous two-front war with Pakistan and China. Off these are some half a dozen MiG 21 squadrons that are also being phased out gradually. The engine upgrade of the Jaguar jets has been shelved and the fleet of 100-odd jets will start getting phased out from 2025 onwards.
Another squadron of the Sukhoi 30 MKI is being raised at Thanjavur early next year.
The first lot of Rafale jets from France will start arriving early next year. A total of 36 are on order. Separately, a global tender is out in the open, asking foreign companies to come and make 114 jets in India. It is slowly inching forward.
The real issue is with the pace of the domestic production of fighter jets and the IAF has suggested to the government that it needed a speedier “make in India” by public sector giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
28/12/19 Tribune
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