New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh formally acquired India’s first Rafale fighter jet in France’s Merignac Tuesday, however the Indian Air Power nonetheless has an extended solution to go when it comes to step by step changing its ageing fleet and substituting them with trendy fighter jets.

A serious chunk of the IAF stock consists of jets and helicopters that are barely used anymore by its counterparts from world wide.

Here is a list among the uncommon birds that the IAF continues to fly, albeit in upgraded type.

Additionally learn: Military plans to purchase 350 helicopters over 10 years to modernise its Aviation Corps

MiG-21 And Variants

The Soviet-origin MiG-21 Bison is certainly one of India’s six fighter jets. It’s a single-engine, single-seater multi-role fighter/floor assault plane, which varieties the “back-bone of the IAF”, based on its web site.

First inducted into the IAF in 1963, the supersonic MiG-21 was initially developed as an interceptor, however was later upgraded to carry out different features of a fight plane, together with floor assaults. There have been varied causes for this, however main amongst them was a paucity of funds.

MiG-21s have been produced in almost a dozen variants, of which the IAF has had a number of, together with Kind-77, Kind-96 and the ‘bis’.

The Bison is the most recent improve, and over 100 MiG-21s have acquired the improve since 2006.

At the moment, the IAF has 4 operational squadrons of MiG-21 Bisons and one combined squadron. The combined squadron is slated to be phased out by the tip of 2019, whereas the remainder are to be phased out over the subsequent 5 to 6 years.

World wide, the MiG-21 is hardly in use anymore. Based on some studies, the MiG-21 at the moment serves in 18 air forces worldwide, together with two members of NATO (Romania and Croatia).

Actually, Russia, which phased out the MiG-21 in 1985, even earlier than the collapse of the Soviet Union, not too long ago requested India for 3 plane for use to display classic flying. India agreed to the reward.

Jaguar Deep Penetration Strike Aircraft

The Jaguar is a twin-engine, single-seater deep penetration strike plane of Anglo-French origin, with a most velocity of 1,350 km/h. The primary ones had been inducted by the IAF on 26 July 1979 within the 14 Squadron ‘The Fighting Bulls’ at Ambala air base. It has been instrumental in varied IAF missions, together with photograph reconnaissance.

At the moment, the IAF operates six squadrons of the Jaguar. Nevertheless, in actuality, there are solely 5 squadrons, because the sixth will not be an entire squadron.

The IAF plans to step by step part out the Jaguars, and has stopped its engine improve, owing to the excessive price quoted by Honeywell and HAL.

The French reportedly retired their Jaguars in 2005 and changed them with the Rafale. The UK, Ecuador, Nigeria and Oman have additionally discontinued them.

Additionally learn: IAF set to shelve Jaguar engine improve, might purchase extra Su-30 MKIs as a substitute


Anticipated to be phased out fully from the IAF by the tip of 2019, the MiG-27 is a Russian-origin ground-attack plane which was manufactured by HAL below a licence settlement. Purchased from the Soviet Union within the 1970s, it is among the uncommon birds that each India and Kazakhstan function.

Sri Lanka additionally had MiG-27 fighters acquired within the early 2000s, that are now not operational. Additionally learn: 10 crashes, 11 plane misplaced, 22 killed — the yr of Balakot has been a bloody one for IAF


The Avro Hawker Siddeley HS748 is a twin-engine turboprop navy transport and freighter of British origin. The plane, which might carry 48 paratroopers or six tonnes of freight, has been within the IAF fleet because the 1960s, however hasn’t been used to its optimum capability.

The fleet of 56 plane is probably going to get replaced by Airbus’ C-295. The plane was shortlisted years in the past, however the negotiations have been caught. Within the meantime, HAL can be providing an upgraded Avro with new engines and avionics, which might reportedly prolong the lifetime of the plane by 20 years.

Additionally learn: Indian Military tanks now have sharper evening imaginative and prescient gear developed by DRDO

Chetak/Cheetah Choppers

The Classic Chetaks and Cheetah helicopters utilised by all 4 companies — the Military, Navy, Air Power and the Coast Guard — are simply flown in a handful of nations.

The IAF remains to be in search of 197 Gentle Utility Helicopters to interchange the Chetak and Cheetah fleet, which is of 1960s and 1970s classic.

The Chetak is a single-engine, mild utility helicopter manufactured in India below licence from French agency Aerospatiale (initially SNIAS) by HAL, starting in 1962. The distinction between the 2 is that the Chetak has wheels whereas the Cheetah has skis as its touchdown gear. The Cheetah additionally has fewer seating capability.

Each the categories are used for commuting, commentary, surveillance, logistics help and rescue operations.

HAL has up to now produced greater than 350 Chetaks and delivered round 80 to the Navy, of which 51 helicopters are nonetheless flying. It has additionally produced over 275 Cheetahs, based on its web site.

HAL has additionally collaborated with France’s Turbomeca to make a extra highly effective ‘Shakti’ engine for the Cheetah, in a variant known as the Cheetal, to be used in excessive altitudes.

The Navy is now seeking to buy 111 helicopters via the strategic partnership route to interchange its ageing Chetaks.