A Look at the Mighty Fighter Jet Fleet of the Indian Air Force: Rafale, Tejas, Sukhoi and More
As India celebrate its 71st Republic Day, we take a glance at the mighty fighter jet fleet of the Indian Air Force.
India celebrated its 71st Republic Day on 26th January, 2020 and like per annum , Indian Air Force hosted a spectacular air display at the Republic Day Parade that included attack and transport aircrafts of the IAF. 41 Aircrafts including helicopters, jets and transporters participated within the parade, while combat ready attack helicopter Apache and Chinook made their debut. Unfortunately, both Rafale and Tejas weren't on display, however Sukhoi Su-30 MKI performed some daredevil stunts. Here’s an inventory of all the active fighter jets also called the multi-role fighters and strike aircraft owned by the Indian Air Force,from Sukhoi Su30MKI to the Tejas LCA.
Our country(India)had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a price of around Rs 58,000 crore.The aircraft is capable of carrying a variety of potent weapons and missiles and therefore the first squadron of the aircraft are going to be deployed at Ambala air force station, considered one of the foremost strategically located bases of the IAF.The Indo-Pak border is around 220 km from there. The second squadron of Rafale are going to be stationed at Hasimara base in West Bengal .The Rafale may be a modern fighter jet known for its agility, speed, weapon holding capacity and attack capability. The Dassault Rafale features a delta wing design and is capable of g-forces as high as 11g (in case of emergency). The Rafale is out there in both single and dual seating cabin (India ordered 28 single and eight dual seater Rafale).
The Mirage-2000 is undoubtedly one among the Indian Air Force's (IAF) most versatile and deadliest aircraft and it had been first commissioned in 1985. Without further ado inducting the Mirage, IAF gave it the name – Vajra – meaning lightning thunderbolt in Sanskrit. The Mirage-2000 is developed by Dassault Aviation and took its first flight in 1978 and was inducted within the French Air Force in 1984. India placed an initial order of 36 single-seater Mirage-2000 and 4 twin-seater Mirage 2000 in 1982 as a solution to Pakistan buying the US-made F-16 fighter jets by Lockheed Martin. The Mirage-2000 played a decisive role within the 1999 war of Kargil and seeing the success of the jets, the govt in India placed a further order of 10 Mirage-2000 planes in 2004, taking the entire tally to 50 jets.
HAL Tejas LCA
Our country has long borrowed its fighter jets from countries like Russia, France and Britain under a license agreement to manufacture it locally by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. However, back within the 1980s the HAL started the light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme to exchange the ageing Soviet sourced MiG-21. With India’s former Prime Minister giving the LCA its name – Tejas – the first indigenously built fighter was inducted within the Indian Air Force with the IAF placing a 20 jet order initially and therefore the 1st Tejas Squadron was formed in 2016 called the Flying Daggers. Even now IAF has placed an order of 40 Tejas Mk 1, including 32 single-seat aircraft and eight twin-seat trainers. IAF has also initiated procurement of an extra 73 single-seat fighters in Mk 1A configuration.
The first supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history, the MiG 21 is one among the foremost known fighter jets on Earth. Having served 60 countries over a course of 60 years, the MiG 21 remains in commission in many countries, including India. In 1961, IAF opted for the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau made MiG 21 and since then has bought quite 250 estimated units of this incredibly competent planes. While the 21s played a pivotal role within the 1971 India Pakistan War, they're currently getting used only as Interceptors with a limited role as fighter jets and IAF will replace the remaining units of the MiG21 Bison with the Tejas LCA. The MiG 21 features a single-seater cockpit with a maximum speed of 1.05 mach (1300 kmph).
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is that the most advanced fighter jet operational with the Indian Air Force and is that the primary air to air and air to ground strike machine. Also referred to as Flanker (NATO), the Su-30 MKI is made in India by HAL under a license agreement with Russia’s Sukhoi. The Su-30MKI is exclusively employed by India and there’s an estimate that IAF has 290 operational units of 30MKI till now. The first unit was inducted in 2002. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI features a top speed of Mach 2 (2120 kmph) and features a maximum takeoff weight of 38,800 kg. The jet can carry a good range of kit from radars to missiles, bombs and event rockets.
The MiG 27 is again Soviet sourced ground-attack aircraft designed by Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau from the Soviet Union and made by HAL under a license agreement. The MiG27 is understood as ‘Bahadur’ (meaning Valiant in English) in India and therefore the IAF retired the last 27 ML squadron in 2017. India is merely among a couple of nations who still operates the updated MiG-27 UPG attack aircraft. The 27s are supported the MiG23 with a redesigned nose and flies low altitude.
The SEPECAT Jaguar
The SEPECAT Jaguar may be a fighter jet developed together by British Royal Air Force and French Air Force. The upgraded Jaguar in active duty is currently using by The Indian Ari Force only. The SEPECAT Jaguar is understood as Shamsher and serves IAF as primary attack aircraft. Indian Jaguar is sort of different from the RAF’s Jaguar and are built locally by HAL under a license agreement. IAF currently updated its entire fleet of Jaguars by adding Avionics support. The main problem with the Jaguar is its inability to fly high altitude with heavy load on board.blem with the Jaguar is its inability to fly high altitude with heavy load on board.
Ok now last on my list is another Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau produced MiG called the MiG 29. Introduced in the 1970s to counter U.S. F-Series planes like F-15 and F-16 the MiG29 is understood as Baaz (Hindi for Hawk) and forms the second line of defence after the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. The MiG-29 is exported to quite 30 nations, India being the primary and one among the most important exporters of this jet. The IAF currently uses the upgraded MiG-29 UPG, the foremost advanced MiG-29 variant ever. The MiG29 were used extensively during the Kargil War by the Indian Air Force to supply escort for Mirage-2000 attacking targets with laser-guided bombs.