Wednesday, October 07, 2020

IAF to induct 450 different aircraft in the next decade, says Air Chief

With plans to induct almost 400 different aircraft in the next decade, the Indian Air Force is all set to finalise a deal with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 83 LCA Mk 1A and additional 12 Su 30 MKI from Russia. Also, order will be placed for more MiG-29 fighter aircraft from Russia. Outlining the modernisation plans and focus on indigenisation efforts of the IAF, on the eve of the 89th anniversary celebrations of the IAF, the IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said, “Around 400-450 indigenous aircraft of various types are to be inducted in the IAF in the next 10-15 years. By the end of the decade, the target is to have around 37-39 squadrons.”

Batting for indigenous fighters, the chief said “the immediate focus is on signing the contract for 83 LCA-Mk1A than the tender for 114 fighter aircraft. The mainstay of the IAF in the next decade would be the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).”

In line with `Atmanirbhar Bharat’ “We have placed our trust in the LCA and in the next five years the induction of 83 LCA Mk1A will start. Also, the IAF will soon be signing a contract for 106 HTT-40 and the LCH with HAL,” the chief added. The deal for the 83 LCA-Mk1A is expected to be firmed up by the year-end.

In June, the DAC headed by the defence Minister Rajnath Singh, had put its approval on the IAF’s wish list of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft from HAL, 21 MiG-29, and the up-gradation of existing 59 Mig-29 aircraft.

The approval given would help in further help in taking up the numbers of IAF’s dwindling fighter squadrons. As was reported by the Financial Express Online in July this year “The MiG-29, the upgrade of the existing MiG-29 which are already in service are going to cost around Rs 7418 crore, and the plans to buy new Su-30MKI (for approx Rs 10,730 crore).”

The procurement of the MiG-29 fighters and Su-30MKI has been under consideration for almost two years and the decision to sign the deal for these aircraft has been taken on priority bases in view of the ongoing tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.

07/10/20 Huma Siddiqui/Financial Express

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