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Monday, October 11, 2021

Delay in delivery of Rafale and other fighter jets: How ready is the Indian Air Force to deal with the threat from China and Pakistan?

 Delay in delivery of Rafale and other fighter jets: How ready is the Indian Air Force to deal with the threat from China and Pakistan?

rafale india

The Indian Air Force celebrated its 89th founding day on October 8, and as every year, the air force demonstrated its capabilities and strength during a ceremony at Hindon Air Base adjacent to the capital Delhi.

Addressing the ceremony, the newly elected Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhry, said: “When I look at the security scenario we are facing today, I am acutely aware of That I have taken on responsibility at a very important time. We have to show our nation that external forces will not be allowed to invade our land.

There is no doubt that the Chief of Air Staff has taken command of the Indian Air Force at a crucial time. India's long-running tensions with China have not abated, and the Air Force chief himself has said that China has a permanent presence at three airports in the Tibetan region.

Memories of Indian and Pakistani Air Force fighter jets on February 27, 2019 have not faded.

On October 5, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhry had stated that it would not be possible for the Indian Air Force to reach the approved strength of 42 fighter squadrons in the next 10-15 years.
He said that over the next few years, four squadrons of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) -MK1A, six squadrons of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and Multi-Roll Fighter Aircraft (MRF) A) Six squadrons will join the Indian Air Force.

But if many older fighter jets are phased out, the total number of squadrons will be reduced to 35 in the next decade, and there is no sign of an increase.

rafale india
So is the unavailability of all fighter jets for the 42 approved squadrons a wake-up call for the Indian Air Force? Why is the Indian Air Force not able to add fighter jets to its fleet as per its requirements?

Preparing to buy 114 fighter jets

The Indian Air Force has about 600 fighter jets. These include the Sukhoi, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-21, Tejas and Rafale. So far, only 26 of the 36 Rafale aircraft have been delivered to France.
rafale india

Over the next four years, the Indian Air Force will phase out four MiG-21 squadrons, and Mirage-2000, Jaguar and MiG-29 fighter jets will be out of service by the end of this decade. And this is becoming a matter of great concern.

To make up for this shortfall, the Indian Air Force has now started the process of procuring 114 multi-role fighter jets.

In April 2019, the Air Force issued a preliminary tender for the acquisition of 114 fighter jets at a cost of approximately ارب 18 billion. The purchase is being seen as the world's largest military procurement program in recent years.

The Air Force hopes to maintain its combat capability with the purchase of 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.


The purchase of fighter jets for the Indian Air Force has been debated from time to time for many years. Then why is the Air Force seeing itself in such a situation today?

Retired Air Commodore Prashant Dixit says the problem started when only 36 Rafale planes were bought instead of 126 fighter jets.

He says: 'This is where the troubles of the Indian Air Force begin. The government is now leaning towards the light fighter Tejas. Forty Tejas have been ordered and another 83 Tejas are rumored to be purchased and it will take 10 years for these planes to arrive.

The Government of India started the process of procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Roll Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in 2007. The cost of these aircraft was estimated at about ارب 20 billion. In the process, Rafale won the competition between different aircraft, but in 2015, the Indian government decided to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets under a direct agreement with the French government. After that, the proposal to buy 126 fighter jets ended.

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