IAF worry: In next two years, only 26 fighter squadrons, short by 16

In Another two years, the IAF will be left with an alarmingly low 26 squadrons of fighter aircraft against an authorisation of 42 — even if all the scheduled supplies, including of Rafale and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, are completed on time.

Around the same time, the Pakistan Air Force will have 25 fighter squadrons while China’s PLA Air Force is estimated to have the capacity to bear 42 squadrons against India.

The Indian Express has reviewed official documents, which show that while the IAF currently has 30 fighter squadrons, the number will slip to 26 in 2021 and 2022. By then, six squadrons of the old Soviet-era MIG aircraft will be decommissioned, and only one squadron of the French Rafale and another of the HAL-manufactured LCA Tejas will be  additionally inducted.

The number is projected to rise to 30 by 2027, with four more squadrons of LCA Tejas. The contract for these 83 LCA Tejas Mark1A is yet to be signed between the IAF and HAL. Read More

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