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Indian Air Force Fleet of Russian Origin

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is the prime strategic and operational service of the armed forces which is facing the challenge of maintaining force levels for combat across two fronts. Against the requirement of 42 squadrons there are estimates of the IAF fielding 30 to 32 squadrons thus a shortfall of around 30 per cent.

Indian Air Force fields a large quantum of combat fighters, attack and support helicopters of Russian origin.

A rough listing which is not expected to be comprehensive or even accurate as this is drawn from open-source information indicates that the Russian inventory of the IAF includes – in the combat stream - 260 SU 30 MKI, 65 MiG 29, 128, MiG 21 and 38 MiG 21 Trainers.

In the airborne warning and command and control three AWACS based on the IL 76 platform have been fielded by the Indian Air Force

In the transport field, there are 6 IL 78, refuellers, 17 IL 76 heavy-lift transporters, 103 AN 32 medium transport aircraft.

Ukraine is to upgrade a tranche of these fighters, 45 of which were to be done that country, while a contract was reportedly inked with the base repair establishment in Kanpur which is awaited. The exact details of these could not be sourced.

In the helicopter fleet, the IAF has 15 Mi 35 attack helicopters and 223 Mi 17 transport helicopters, the latter being extensively used by the IAF to support forces – mainly the Indian Army and the Air Force across bases in the front line on the Northern as well as the Western borders.

12 Su 30 MKI have been additionally contracted recently along with 21 MIG 29 fighters though the latter are yet to be confirmed.

Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation has reportedly sent a commercial offer and request for tender to India in July 2021, but an US official Donald Lu has claimed before the congressional committee that the MiG 29 contract is cancelled.

The IAF has deployed the first squadron, S 400 Almaz Alty air and missile defence system a second training squadron comprising of simulators is expected to have been delivered.

Four squadrons are awaited.

The IAF has varied air defence missile systems of Russian origin. According to Wikipedia, there are twenty-five squadrons of S-125 Pechora, six squadrons of 9K33 Osa-AK, and ten flights of 9K38 Igla-1, which need confirmation. Some of these are expected to have been replaced by indigenously designed and developed Akash air defence missile system.

Apart from the platforms, many of these combat aircraft are equipped with Russian air to air missiles, air defence missiles, electronic warfare and surveillance equipment and so on.


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