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New Delhi: Three squadrons of the aging MiG 21 and MiG 27 fighter jets are set to be phased out this year even as Indian Air Force focuses on cannibalization to keep the serviceability rate of its aircraft high.
Top defence sources said that while three squadrons, 18 aircraft each, will be pulled out due to the end of their life cyle, an additional squadron of the Su-30 fighter aircraft is expected. The planes – MiG 21s and MiG 27s, were bought from Russia in the 60s and 70s.
New Delhi: Terming the UPA’s proposed deal for 126 Rafale fighter jets as “economically unviable” and not required, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said the NDA government will buy only 36 of the French aircraft, to be used for strategic purposes, and no more.
Parrikar also raised questions on the tendering process initiated by former Defence Minister A K Antony and said his predecessor had “hammered” the tender in such a way that the Rafale deal would have never seen the light of the day.
Rafale in IAF colours: artistic conception
When analysing a subject like India’s air force, it is important to rely only on facts. Thus an air force, which is one of the top five forces in the world, today has an ageing asset, with “some 500 fixed-wing operational aircraft, significantly down from the total of 850 in 2006”.
By scrapping a deal for 126 MMRCA and opting to buy Rafale jets in a fly away condition under a G2G contract, the Indian Prime Minister has taken the suggestion of a Russian expert Konstantin Makiyenko, offered eight years ago, to develop and more easily procure upgraded aircraft for the Indian Air Force.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi cut the Gordian knot of the US $ 25 billion ‘Mother-of-all-deals’ for the acquisition of 126 MMRCA by announcing in Paris last week that India will directly buy 36 Rafale fighters from the French aviation maker Dassault in fly-away condition under a government-to-government (G2G) contract.
NEW DELHI: Faced with continuing deadlock in the mega deal to acquire 126 French Rafale fighters, India is now pressing the throttle to seal the even bigger project with Russia for the stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).
India has told Russia it wants deliveries of the FGFA to begin in 36 months after the main contract is inked, instead of the 94 months envisaged earlier, top defence sources said.
NEW DELHI — India may not have the funds to seal the deal with Dassault Aviation to purchase $12 billion Rafale fighter planes, according to an Air Force source.
While India plans to boost hike defense spending by almost 8 percent, defense analysts and military officers say it falls short of expectations and isn’t enough to buy fresh weaponry.
India will spend US $40.4 billion on defense in the April 1 2015-March 31 2016 financial year, according to the Feb. 28 proposal to Parliament.
After almost 30 years of design and development, deliveries of India’s indigenous lightweight fighter, the Tejas, to the air force are finally underway. But achieving full operational capability, fielding a naval variant and developing a fully capable Mk. 2 version remain to be done.
India has asked the Pentagon for five key technologies, including advanced high-altitude UAVs and “hot engines” for its fighter jets, to bolster its defences, sources said.
New Delhi’s request for detailed proposals and licence requirements under the bilateral defence technology and trade initiative were conveyed to a visiting Pentagon delegation, sources said. US President Barack Obama visits India in January.
Painting a grim picture of India’s combat readiness, a Parliamentary panel on Monday dropped a bombshell by revealing that the force levels of the Indian Air Force are down to a mere 25 fighter squadrons. The IAF till recently had maintained it had 32-34 squadrons with about 18 planes each.
But the revelation by the standing committee on defence in a report tabled in Parliament indicates the IAF’s traditional air superiority over Pakistan may have been severely diluted.
Ayesha Farooq: a female Pakistani fighter pilot
Women could be appointed as fighter pilots in IAF in future, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha today said. “They (women) are already working in all branches of the Air Force and they could be appointed as fighter pilots too in future,” he told reporters.
Earlier this year, the Air Chief had said that women were not physically suited to fly fighter planes, especially when they are pregnant or have other health issues.