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Monday July 15, 2024

India admits IAF facing shortage of fighter plans

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
March 06, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Indian government conceded officially that Indian Air Force (IAF) is suffering from the shortage of fighter aircraft. The Indian Parliament has been informed on Thursday.

India has adopted a two-pronged strategy of midlife up-gradation of existing jets and induction of new ones in the fleet for addressing the shortage, Indian state minister for defence Shripad Naik told the Parliament. The MiG-27 fleet was decommissioned on December 31, 2019 due to obsolescence and completion of Total Technical Life, he added.

In a written response to a question in the lower house (Lok Sabha) he said the IAF has already contracted for 40 Light Combat Aircraft Mk1 with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited of which 16 aircraft have been delivered. The IAF is in the process of acquiring additional 83 LCA Mk1A aircraft for which contract negotiations are in progress.

Delivery of LCA Mk1A aircraft would commence three years from the date of signing of contract, Naik said. Request for proposal for 83 LCA Mk1A was issued to HAL in December 2017. A request for information for procurement of 114 Multi Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) was issued in April 2018, the minister added.

Replying to another question on whether the Defence Research Development Organisation has partnered with Indian or foreign companies to develop technology to prevent drone attacks. Naik said the information is "strategic in nature and its disclosure is not in the interest of national security".

In response to a separate query on whether there are any plans to privatise any defence public sector undertaking, Naik said the government has given an in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Bharat Earth Movers Ltd by reducing its shareholding of 54.03 per cent to 28.03 percent, he said.