The Indian Air Force officially came to effect on the 8th of October, 1932 with a strength of 6 Royal Air Force trained officers and 19 ‘Hawai Sepoys’ which literally translates to Air Soldiers. Since then, the Indian Air Force has become the world’s fourth-largest air force in terms of assets. The Air Force Academy where the ranks are trained is located in Dundigal in the state of Telangana. The motto of the Indian Air Force is: ” Touch the Sky with Glory”. The rank of the supreme commander of the IAF is held by the President of India. There is approximately 1,40,000 active personnel in the Indian Air Force presently. The head of the Indian Air Force is the Chief of the Air Staff or The Air Chief Marshall. Air Chief Marshall Birender Singh Dhanoa is the present head of the Indian Air Force.
Indian Air Force has various kinds of aircraft ranging from Helicopters to Transport Aircrafts to cutting-edge, top of the line Fighter Planes. The Air Commands are strategically located throughout the country and different types of aircraft are distributed there, as per the requirement of the area. In this article, we are going to discuss The 10 Most Popular Fighter Planes and Aircraft in the Indian Air Force.
1. SU-30 MKI
The Sukhoi-30 MKI, popularly known as the Flanker-H (NATO Reporting Name), is a multi-role, twin-seater, twin-engine, super maneuverable fighter jet developed by Russia. It is built under license by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited. It can attain speeds up to 2500 km/hr or Mach 2.35. It is the most sophisticated, state of the art multi-role fighter jet of the Indian Air Force. There are about 240 SU-30 MKI in India divided into 20 squadrons spread across the country.
2. Mirage 2000
The Mirage 2000 of the Indian Air Force is a single-seater, single-engine, multi-role, defensive aircraft built and developed by the French aeronautical company, Dassault. It can attain a speed of up to 2495 km/hr and can carry two 30 mm internal cannons, two Matra-super 530D mid-range missiles, and two R-550 magic II close combat missiles to external stations.
The MiG-29 of the Indian Air Force is a twin-engine, single-seater, air superiority fighter aircraft that was originally developed by Russia. It can attain speeds up to 2445 km/hr or Mach 2.3. This is one of the most popular fighter planes of the Indian Air Force and has its predecessors namely, MiG-27 and MiG-21 BISON. It has a flight ceiling of about 17 kilometers.
The MiG-27 is the predecessor of the MiG-29 Fighter and is slightly inferior to the MiG-29. It is a single seater, single engine, tactical strike fighter jet which was originally developed by Russia and now is in collaborated development with India. It can carry one 23 mm six-barrel rotary cannon and can freight up to 4 tonnes of external weapon load. The MiGs have been rather infamous for various technical accidents and have claimed the life of quite a number of the Indian Air Force officers.
5. LCA Tejas
Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, is India’s first indigenously developed fighter aircraft. It is developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited. It is a single seater, single engine, multi-role, light fighter aircraft with a unique delta wing formation, providing it exquisite maneuverability. It can attain speeds up to 2205 km/hr. Tejas was developed to replace the MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
The Jaguar is an Anglo-Frech developed single seater, twin-engine, deep pen-strike fighter. It can attain a speed of up to 1350 km/hr or Mach 1.3. It has two internal 30 mm guns, 2 R-350 Magic CCM missiles and can also freight 4750 kilograms of external load in form of bombs and fuel. The heart of Jaguar is the Rolls Royce Turbomeca Adour engine which is capable of thrusting it to the Mach 1.3 speed and carrying about 4750 kilograms of external load.
7. C-130J Super Hercules
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a transport aircraft and can be used for transporting paratroops, heavy drops and can also be used for casualty evacuation. It is one of the heaviest aircraft to be owned by the Indian Air Force. It is a four-engine Turboprop military transport plane and can achieve speeds up to 670 km/hr. This aircraft is extremely popular and after development, was ordered by 15 countries.
The C-17 Globemaster is a transport plane and is developed by Boeing in America. It was developed by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17 Globemaster can perform not only tactical missions but also strategic airlift missions. It can carry a payload of about 40 to 70 tonnes and can cover a distance of about 9000 kilometers in a single hop. It can attain a speed of about 830 km/hr or Mach 0.74.
The MI-35 is a twin-engine helicopter popularly known as Hind (NATO reporting name), is capable of carrying an assault team of up to 8 men. It is an assault and anti-armour aircraft which carries a four-barrel 12.7 mm rotary gun. It can also carry Scorpion anti-tank missiles and an external load of 1500 kilograms. Presently there are 2 MI-35 squadrons in the Indian Air Force. It can attain speeds up to 333 km/hr.
10. MI-17 V5
The MI-17 V5 is a medium-lift military helicopter and is equipped with state of the art avionics and glass cockpit instrumentation. They are also equipped with bleeding-edge navigational equipment and radars. It can attain speeds of up to 250 km/hr. It has a standard range of about 580 kilometers and can be extended to 1065 kilometers with auxiliary fuel tanks. It can also attain a maximum altitude of 6000 meters.