Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria revealed that the Indian Air Force was planning to procure 450 fighter aircraft for deployment on the northern and western frontiers of the country over the period of a few years. While speaking to news agency ANI, the Air Force Chief spoke about the list of aircraft that the Air Force was planning to induct which included 36 Rafales, 114 Multirole Fighter Aircraft, 100 Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and over 200 variants of the Light Combat Aircraft. He added that the induction of these fighters would take place over a period of the next 35 years. This comes a few months after the Indian Air Force faced a shortage of around 10 squadrons of Combat Aircraft in view of phasing out of the MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighters planes.
"In the next 15 years, 83 LCAs are our primary focus, after that LCA Mark 2 will come in we are looking at close to 100 of those, that makes it near 200 of LCA class," Bhadauria told news agency ANI in an interview. "AMCA, we are looking at six squadrons, so that puts it close to 100 (aircraft). So, in the indigenous domain areas which are already frozen in terms of our requirement, in terms of our understanding with DRDO in the fighter (segment)," he added.
Bhadauria revealed that currently, it was the best time from the point of time for 'indigenous production' of these aircraft since industries were responding and coming up with solutions to the challenge of delivering them. "In the trainer aircraft segment, we are looking at 70 HTT-40 as a support aircraft to the Pilatus fleet. So, we are looking at 370 odd indigenous aircraft," said the IAF Chief.
On plans to acquire 114 multirole fighter aircraft, he said, "this project is in the middle-weight and is in the Rafale class, in this issue, we will deal with it in the Make in India region, with an increase in FDI, with support to the private sector. I think in future this will bring in technology which is required to support the aviation sector. I think it is important to have another generation of aircraft in terms of capability, technology as we go along."