Taking challenges in the face of grave uncertainty has made the Indian Air Force the fourth largest worldwide. It was founded during the British rule and served in world war II. During the Kargil War, it became the first air force to have dealt with ground targets in a harsh Kargil-environment.
The humane act of collecting soldiers’ letters for their loved ones during Operation Meghdoot signifies the unity and compassion they have. Operation Cactus showcased India's readiness to ensure the security of other nations. Operation Poomalai expressed symbolic support for the oppressed Tamil population in Sri Lanka.
Not to forget the Operation Safed Sagar where IAF helped Army to flush out the Pakistani troops from Kargil sector. And most recently carried out Operation Bandar, where the brave IAF officials carried out a top-notch deadly airstrike mission which was indeed a response to the Pulwama terror attack.
Apart from these few most popularly known operations, the IAF has protected India on numerous occasions. During the Second Kashmir War, which took place in 1965, IAF defended the conflict zones despite having older, inferior equipment from world war II. After this, numerous modifications took place in the IAF. By 1971, IAF was one of the most formidable air forces in the world.
The Kargil war helped realize the clear need for equipment suited to survive and function in versatile and inhospitable conditions. Since then, IAF has constantly been making improvements in its machinery.
List of Equipment That Indian Air Force Has
While we are all proud of the bravery and strength of the IAF (Indian Air Force), we cannot forget the fighter jets, aircrafts, UAVs, etc. that help them to fight and achieve their aims. These Indian Air Force equipment make a long list. Let’s have a look at what the IAF uses today.
Combat Aircraft can also be referred to as fighter aircraft, which are precisely developed primarily for the purpose of air-to-air combat roles against other aircrafts. Usually, these combat Aircraft possess high speed, great firepower along with high maneuvering ability. In simpler terms, combat aircraft's purpose is to establish and maintain air superiority during air warfare/ over the battlefield.
1. Mikoyan MiG-21:
These have been in use since as early as 1961. They are a fighter aircraft with a maximum speed of 2230 kmph.
2. SEPECAT Jaguar:
This fighter jet of an Anglo-French origin has a maximum speed of 1350 kmph.
3. Mikoyan MiG-29:
They have a maximum speed of 2,445 kmph and a 17km combat ceiling. They have been in use since 1985 in IAF.
4. Dassault Mirage 2000:
With a maximum speed of 2495 kmph, these fighter aircraft of French origin are one of IAF’s deadliest equipment.
5. Sukhoi Su-30:
These Aircraft carry medium-range air-to-missiles. They have a maximum speed limit of 2500 kmph
6. HAL Tejas:
These Multirole light fighters developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) and have been in use since 2001.
7. Dassault Rafale:
These multirole fighters were recently introduced in the IAF, the orders have been received since July 2020.
Airborne early warning and control system is commonly referred to as, 'AWACS'. AWACS consists of an airborne radar picket system, which increases the radar detection range around a specific target so as to protect it from an air attack by the enemy's aircraft. It helps in detecting aircraft in a long-range area and thereby perform the tactical attributes of a military strategy during an air engagement by directing the attack aircraft strikes. These aircraft are also used for other purposes like surveillance and C2BM.
8. Embraer EMB-145:
They are Airborne early warning and control aircraft originating from Brazil.
9. Beriev A-50:
These airborne early warning and control aircraft can fly for four hours. They keep an eye on the Indian skies.
A reconnaissance aircraft is the one that is capable of performing aerial reconnaissance activities, which majorly consists of collecting intelligence info in various forms like signals, imagery, measurements, and signature( MASINT).
10. Boeing 707:
This is India’s oldest aircraft and was used in the Kargil War.
11. Global 5000:
India’s Aviation Research Centre (ARC) uses these to gather intelligence.
12. Gulfstream G100:
Manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd, these have a maximum speed of 672 kmph.
An electronic warfare aircraft is primarily used to jam or reduce the effectiveness of enemy radar, radio, or any other deception equipment/method.
13. Gulfstream III:
With a maximum speed of 928 kmph, these aircraft are used globally.
The tanker aircraft are used for aerial refueling of other jets while they are in flight. It is done to increase the time and range of an aircraft in air during any air operations, etc.
14. Ilyushin Il-78:
These aerial refueling tankers are of Russian origins and have a maximum speed of 850 kmph.
The transport aircraft is also known as the ‘cargo aircrafts’. They are primarily used for the purpose of airlifting or transporting weapons, troops, or other types of military equipment from one location to another, in order to support military operations.
15. Boeing C-17:
These military transport aircraft were built by McDonnell Douglas. India has 11 of these.
16. Ilyushin Il-76:
These are medium-range transport aircraft. It can carry 225 paratroopers and several vehicles.
17. Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules:
These have a maximum speed of 670 kmph and can be used to paradrop, heavy-drop, and casualty evacuation.
18. Antonov An-32:
These are medium tactical transport aircraft. It can carry 6.7 tonnes at most.
19. Hawker Siddeley HS 748:
These are for military transport; they can carry 48 paratroopers.
20. Dornier Do 228:
These transport aircraft of german origins can carry 19 passengers and have twin-engine Turboprop.
21. Boeing 737:
These have a twin-engine Turbofan and are capable of carrying 60 passengers.
23. Embraer Legacy 600:
These are used to transport VIPs and VVIPs within Indian and abroad.
Helicopters are capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) which an aircraft cannot do. A helicopter can also hover at a place which is again a feature that aircraft do not possess. Indeed these flying machines are used in isolated or congested areas where an aircraft might not be able to fly. Military helicopters are used for various purposes like transportation, medical evacuation(MEDEVAC), to attack ground targets, to perform combat search and rescue(CSAR) missions or other airborne activities.
24. HAL Light Combat Helicopter:
This multi-role attack helicopter boasts a flight ceiling highest of all attack helicopters.
25. Boeing AH-64:
This helicopter of US origins is the world's most advanced combat helicopter and equipped with night vision systems.
26. Mil Mi-24:
These Russian attack helicopters are capable of transporting eight passengers. These were used during Operation Poomalai.
27. HAL Rudra:
With the highest speed of 290 kmph, they boast of forward-looking infrared along with a thermal imaging sights interface. They are another version of HAL Dhruv.
28. Mil Mi-17:
These NVG-compatible helicopters are equipped with glass cockpit instrumentation and modern avionics.
29. HAL Dhruv:
These are utility helicopters with the highest speed of 282 kmph with a turboshaft engine.
30. HAL Chetak:
These are equipped with a single-engine turboshaft and can carry 500kg load.
31. HAL Cheetah:
With a maximum cruise speed of 121 kmph, these can rise to 1km in 4 minutes and can carry three passengers.
32. Boeing CH-47 Chinook:
These multi-mission helicopters can function in high altitudes such as the Himalayas and other places with harsh conditions.
These aircrafts, except their other roles, are also used for the training purpose of the IAF pilots.
33. Pilatus PC-7:
Manufactured in Switzerland, these turbo trainers are used for basic training functions.
34. HAL HTT-40:
These training aircraft have the highest speed of 400kmph and are used for training.
35. HAL Kiran:
These intermediate trainer aircraft equipped with an Armstrong Siddeley Viper have a maximum speed of 695kmph.
36. BAE Hawk:
These Indo-British aircraft have been in service of the IAF for many years now.
37. SEPECAT Jaguar
38 Mikoyan MiG-21
Unarmed aerial vehicles (UAV) is also known as a drone. It is a type of aircraft which does not require a human pilot on board. It can be operated by several means like a remote controller which is operated by a human on ground, can be piloted by a robot, or can be operated through onboard computers.
39. IAI Harop:
These anti-radiation drones are used for stealth operations.
40. IAI Heron:
It has been used for several years. It can fly at a stretch for two days, making it a perfect fit for strategic and tactical missions.
41. IAI Searcher:
Because these have a high-altitude ceiling, they are deployed in mountainous regions along with plains and semi-deserts.
42. DRDO Lakshya:
Lakshya 1 and Lakshya 2 are used for military observation of the battlefield. They are developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE).
Indian Air Force has proved its strategic intellect and bravery time and again. The intellect and skill of IAF troops are recognized whenever they operate in unfavorable conditions. The IAF has been and still is protecting the nation. It has made us proud to be Indian and is a great example of dealing with adverse conditions. With this list of active Indian military aircrafts, let us always remember and appreciate their services.
Thank you, Indian Air Force. We applaud you!
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