Few days back, Indian army chief commened that we can fight a two and half front war at a time(Pakistan, China and terrorism). It suggested how vast our military capabilities have grown in the past but the Indian Air force has a sanctioned strength of 42 combat squadrons but only 32 are currently functional and many of them are out of their use date.
India has fought several wars before, the 1965, 1971 and Kargil war. In the 1965 war, the Folland Gnat fighter impressed everyone.
In the 1971 war, it was the MiG-21 which proved as the best. MiG-21 was an amazing aircraft with delta wings and a tube shaped air frame. It was way back in the 70s that it was good for that time. Fast forward to 2017, India is still with the MiG family and all of them have passed their official dates of service. The MiG-21 is now called death coffin and Indian air force has lost half of the MiGs to crashes. The MiG 25 is retired some time back and the MiG 27 and Mig-29 has few squadrons in the IAF.
India has been buying Sukhoi-30 MKI but they have a different and a very specificed role. An article by Saikat Dutta in Quint expresses concern about the steady demise of the fleet with no replacements being in the place. The Tejas had to be in service by now, but it’s not yet cleared when it will be inducted in the Indian Air Force. The Rafale deal of 126 aircrafts has been reduced to just 36 and India is desperately looking forward to get the Rafale.
With the passing of the time, it is being clear that the Indian Air Force will run out of all fleets operating on the MiGs in next 10 years. The Indian Air Force is still dependent on the old age MiGs and the modernization is not happening.
Recently, Indian Air Force Chief expressed concern over not having enough fighter jets in an interview, given to the Indian Express. The Indian Air Force chief has clearly disagreed for a war, saying not having enough fighter jets is like playing a cricket match with just 7 players. He also pointed that Indian Air force desires for an independence of an execution for the testing of speed, shock and surprise.
India really needs to develop their own fighter aircrafts or get the Rafale soon enough to be able to tackle the enemy in any battle.