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Cost of IAF's lesson: 50 squadrons lost

With single-engine, Soviet-era combat aircraft being replaced by twin-engine, Western bloc aircraft, it remains to be seen whether IAF's aircraft, fighter pilots are spared erosion of men, materials

Indian Air Force’s Russian-designed Su-30 MKi fighter jets fly over New Delhi
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Photo: Bloomberg

Ajai ShuklaDevesh Kapur
One of the most worrying shortfalls in India’s defence preparedness is in the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) fleet of combat aircraft. The Ministry of Defence (MoD), the IAF itself, and air power experts in and outside the country have acknowledged the requirement of about 42.5 squadrons of combat aircraft, which include fighters, bombers, and electronic warfare aircraft. There is vocal lament over the deficiency of 10-12 combat squadrons, which, given that each squadron is authorised 21 aircraft, amounts to a deficiency of 210-252 aircraft. Many argue this figure is misleading and that the enhanced capabilities of contemporary combat aircraft compensate
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First Published: Aug 31 2023 | 10:45 PM IST

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