IAF claims that we need more fighter aircraft, citing Pakistan and China numbers.

    Image credit: India Today

    The Indian Air Force stated on Tuesday that it would require more combat aircraft to address security challenges. It cited the growing number of fighter aircraft in the Chinese and Pakistani air forces.

    “The environment surrounding us continues to be hostile, and the Indian Air Force will need 42 squadrons of fighter aircraft. Vice Chief Air Marshal Sandeep Singh of the Indian Air Force remarked, “We must also look at the cases of China and Pakistan.

    During a press conference, he was responding to a question about whether the IAF’s authorised squadron strength of 42 could be reduced.

    The IAF commander, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, claimed that given the security risks, the quantity of aircraft authorised for the force was as needed.

    The IAF is permitted to have 42 squadrons, or about 800 fighter aircraft, but is now limited to about 30 squadrons due to delays in the LCA Tejas’ development and the purchase of high-capability multirole fighters.

    With the anticipated decommissioning of the MiG-21s soon and all squadrons of Jaguar, Mirage-2000, and MiG-29 fighters by the middle of the next decade, the issue is only going to become worse.

    The IAF intends to acquire six squadrons of advanced medium combat aircraft, 200 LCAs, and 114 multirole fighters during the next 15 years.

    Pakistan, which mostly defends its borders with India, only has about 25 combat aircraft squadrons, compared to the Chinese Air Force’s vast fleet, which includes fifth-generation fighters like the J-20.