'IAF needs 39 squadrons for 2-front war, has only 34'

Published: 29th April 2013 07:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th April 2013 07:53 PM   |  A+A-


The IAF will require 39 combat aircraft units to meet the challenge of fighting a war simultaneously on the Pakistan and China fronts but it has only 34 squadrons, a Parliamentary panel has been informed.

In its report, the Standing Committee on Defence has also come down heavily on the government for allocating only Rs 2,000 crore to the IAF for new modernisation schemes whereas Rs 15,000 crore is required only for the Rafale combat jet deal.

"The Indian Air Force has 34 fighter squadrons against the authorised 42. Thirty-nine squadrons are required at any time to take on challenges of a two-front war scenario," the force informed the Standing Committee on Defence.

The force informed that timely-induction of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and the Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) is envisaged to sustain the desired operational levels.

The indigenous LCA is delayed by over 20 years and the M-MRCA acquisition process is also getting delayed due to issues which has have come up in Defence Ministry's negotiations with the French Dassault, whose Rafale combat jet has been chosen by India.

The Committee said that with the squadron strength of the IAF depleting, it "fails to understand that with stingy funding of Rs 2,000 crore, how will the force be in a position to acquire M-MRCA and other equipment."

It said that with the air fleet of the force ageing and requiring substitution, "obsolescence will further increase and the gap in existing and sanctioned strength of squadrons will widen further thereby leaving air defence in lurch."

The Committee said the force had projected a requirement of Rs 64,607 crore while it was allocated only Rs 39,208 crore.


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