UNDERSTANDING THE INDIAN AIR FORCE SQUADRON DEPLETION DILEMMA.

 

The situation is explanied way too bitter by media to create a public image of IAF being crushed like cockroaches so that it forces the MoD to issue a tender to again give the foreign firm’s dalals a happy pay. But, the situation even though is serious but not worst as being potrayed.

The problem definition includes two things:

  • Technologically modern a.k.a Qualitative criteria.
  • Number of Squadrons a.k.a Quantitative criteria.

It is not sleeping, It is dragging. The entire scenario has been explained briefly in the below diagram.

Diagram: Analysis of current scenario put in simple terms.

The major two things that the new government (2014 onwards) was:

  • Bring the LCA programme back to front from back-burner , hence we get 123 jets, 8 of which have been delivered with another 3 to be delivered by end of March ‘18. All of them will join the forces by 2025–26
  • Getting two squadrons of Rafale off the shelf from France. All of them will join the forces by 2023–24

Now,

We still have delivery of 36 SU-30 MKI out of 272 to be completed in coming 18 months.

Current fleet looks like :

  • 43% is Vintage includes Mig-21/27
  • 26% is Modern includes Mirage/Mig-29/Jaguars (All upgraded versions)
  • 31% is state of art includes Su-30MKI and LCA.

Also, this one thing never got much attention or appreciation to HAL for doing this, the Hawk trainers were earlier purchased as non-weapon platform. Later HAL bought IP rights from BAE and developed a indigenous or modified from LCA , a Fire Control System (FCS) for the Hawk and named it as Hawk-i a Indian weaponised version of Hawk, thus converting all 132 of IAF’s trainer into a Close Air support Asset. I have not considered it in the Pie charts, but it is still a weapon platform.


The SEF deal as explained by me earlier had inherent snags of :

  • Single Vendor Situation
  • Black Mailing by US India Industries Business council over ToT on F-16 and trying to hamper Gripen’s TOT if done against their wishes.
  • Indian companies forming JV’s didn’t have appropriate credentials satisfied according to DPP-2016

Hence, the deal never took off, let alone the issuing of an formal RFI.

Then came the media claims of MMRCA-2, but that too were called out as bluffs in absence of any formal request being done by Ministry of Defense.

This leaves us with one scenario post 2023, after the delivery of first batch of Rafale, excercise the remainig 18 or 36 Rafales options as mentioned in deal as a “Follow on order”. Hence the Rafale count shall grow as high as 72, and on side the LCAs are being delivered which by 2023–24 will reach a decent strength of 90+. Hence the composition is described below pie chart.

NOTE: PIE CHART DOESNOT INCLUDE THE 36 EXTRA RAFALE TO GIVE A REALISTIC PICTURE

By 2025 the IAF picture will be

  • 31% is Modern includes Mirage/Mig-29/Jaguars (All upgraded versions)
  • 69% is state of art includes Su-30MKI,Rafales and LCA.

As it is seen clearly that by 2025 the problem claimed by the Standing committee on defense in parliament of 68% Vintage will be totally reversed through decisions and contracts already done in 2019. No BS here, only facts!


Post 2027, we may see LCA-MK2 , FGFA and 36 more Rafales coming in service and AMCA prototypes in their LSP format thus taking post 2030 counts making look as shown below:

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