The kind of hostile neighbors India is surrounded by, it is wise to bolster its weapon arsenal as much as it can. This has resulted in modernization of aging fleet of the IAF. With modernization being the need of the hour, Indian govt. along with the Indian Air Force is leaving no stone unturned to replace and upgrade IAF’s aging and outdated equipment.
This modernization includes:
- Up gradation of aircrafts.
- Replacement of too old aircrafts.
- Development of indigenous aircrafts.
- Induction of advanced helicopters.
- Development of indigenous helicopters.
- Development of indigenous weapons and associated techniques.
- Import of advanced weapons for the aircrafts.
In this article we will limit our discussion to the ‘aircrafts’ and will be focusing on the upgrades. ‘New Aircrafts’, ’Future Plans’, ‘Helicopters’ and ‘missile or weapons’ will be discussed in further articles.
So, let’s get started and discuss about the Up gradation of aircrafts
Here we list all the active fighter and attack aircraft of the IAF.
Fighter Aircraft: Mig21, Mig29, Su-30, LCA Tejas, Mirage 2000
Attack Aircraft: SPECAT Jaguar, Mig-27
Up gradation of aircrafts
- Known as Baaz (Hawk).
- It is a dedicated air superiority fighter and constitutes a second line of defence after the Su-30 Mki.
- Currently 66 in service and have been upgraded to ‘UPG’ standard.
Upgraded Mig29 UPG
- With modern avionics, it can take on & defeat current generation aircrafts, including F-16 when properly flown.
- The upgrade has helped Mig-29 overcome its ‘deficit’ of older avionics & limited fuel capacity.
- After transformation of Mig-29 into Mig-29 UPG, they have transformed from air-superiority fighter to multirole fighters.
- Our possible threats are Pakistan and China and not US. So, our fighter is good and far ahead.
- In 1999 Kargil War, Mig-29 chased away PAF’s F-16 so Mig-29 UPG being better version of Mig-29. It can be deadly.
Mirage 2000 – The plane that pounded Jaish targets across LoC.
- Known as Vajra (Thunderbolt)
- Multirole fighter
- Currently 41 in service being upgraded to Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 standards.
Upgraded Mirage 2000-5 Mk2
- The aircraft that played an important role in 1999 Kargil war had just a handful of laser-guided bombs and it didn’t have kit to ensure that the bombs would hit high-altitude targets with pin-point precision.
- The upgraded Mirage is different. It has Thales RDY2 radar, which allows for a very long range engagement of targets in the air, automatic tracking of targets and mapping of targets on the ground.
- It has now the ability to track and engage targets which are moving on the ground.
- Pilot’s helmet has been modified. They can see radar data in a display equipped inside their helmet.
- So, in case of air combat, the pilot who is looking through his helmet can direct weapons by merely pointing their head in the required direction.
Sukhoi -30 Mki
- The IAF’s primary multirole fighter aircraft with the additional capability to conduct air-ground (strike) missions.
- The backbone of the Indian Air Force and will play a very important role beyond 2021-22.
- Currently 240 in service and are planned to be upgraded to “Super Sukhois”.
Upgraded Sukhoi – 30 Mki(Super Sukhois)
- Under this program IAF’s Su-30Mki will be upgraded to Su-35+ standards which will be far superior to the Su-35 currently been operated by Russian and Chinese Air Force.
- The plan is to upgrade the first 80 Su-30 Mkis to “Super Sukhois” which will have highly advanced radars and weapon system.
- It involves equipping the aircraft with long range stand-off missiles up to the range of 300 km. (We will provide details about missiles and weapons in further blogs)
- With all the upgrades it will nearly out-par Su-35 and will come close to the 5th gen fighter of Russia.
- Known as Shamsher.
- IAF’s primary ground attack force.
- 119 in service and 80 of them are planned to be upgraded.
Upgraded SPECAT Jaguar
- The upgraded Jaguar will get state of the art avionics for striking ground targets more accurately.
- They will go through DARIN-3 upgrade being equipped with EL/M-2052 AESA radars which will make the fleets more precise and effective on their missions.
- Interceptor Aircraft
- Upgraded to Mig-21 Bison standard.
- Phase-out is scheduled for 2021-22.
- To be replaced by TEJAS.
- Recently got a lot of attention when Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman flown Mig-21 took down a PAF’s F-16 in an aerial dogfight.
- Ground Attack
- Upgraded to MIg-27 ML
- The fighter jets which played a crucial role for the IAF in Kargil war, will take their last flight from Rajasthan’s Jodhpur in December this year.
Note: We have not discussed about the upgrades of Mig-21 and Mig-27 as both are to be decommissioned soon and to be replaced. So we will be discussing the “new aircrafts” in the next article of this series.
So, this was the first part in the series of IAF 2.0 where we talked about the upgraded aircrafts.
As this is a series, a number of articles will come. So, don’t forget to follow our instagram and facebook pages to get updates.
Hope you liked our work and don’t forget to tell your opinions, suggestions in the comment section below as your response matters the most.