IAF seeks Government sanction for more fighter aircraft squadrons

PTI

Preparing itself for a two-front war scenario, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has sent a proposal to the Defence Ministry to increase its sanctioned fighter aircraft strength from 39.5 to 45 squadrons.

“We have proposed to increase our squadron strength from 39.5 to 45 squadrons and it is under consideration of the Defence Ministry,” IAF sources told PTI here.

The current squadron strength of the force is 33. A squadron comprises around 18 to 20 aircraft.In view of increasing Chinese military deployments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the IAF has been strengthening its presence in the northeastern sector and has plans of deploying four squadrons of the air superiority Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft there by 2015.

Asked about the time-frame in which the IAF was looking to achieve these numbers, they said the future acquisitions would depend on the sanctions accorded to the service by the Government.

Under its modernisation plans, air bases on the western front are also being equipped with modern airfield infrastructure and new fighter planes.

The IAF has plans of inducting more than 350 fighter jet aircraft by the end of this decade which includes the 126 multi-role combat planes (M-MRCA), over 160 new Su-30MKIs and over 140 indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

The contract for the new Su-30s has already been signed and the orders for 126 M-MRCA are expected to be placed by the end of September this year.

Six aircraft including Russian MiG-35, American F-16 and F/A-18, Swedish Gripen, European Eurofighter and French Rafale are in the race for the M-MRCA contract, which is expected to cost USD 11 billion.

The IAF is also phasing out its old Russian-origin fleet of MiG aircraft — the 21, 23 and 27 series. The oldest MiG-21 Type-77 is likely to be decommissioned by the end of next year.

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Posted by pilotpaul on Feb 11 2011. Filed under All News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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