Indian Air Force (IAF) operates seven fighter aircraft out of which Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Mirage 2000, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29, MiG-21 and SEPECAT Jaguar are in active service while the first Rafale is all set to land in the country soon. The IAF has almost 900 combat aircraft in it inventory while the total aeroplanes in active service with the force number over 1720.

The Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKIs form the backbone of IAF fighter fleet and the force flies 272 of the twin-seater, twin-engine multirole combat aircraft. There are 272 Su-30MKIs in service and some of them have been modified to carry the supersonic BrahMos air-launched cruise missiles.

TEJAS, the indigenous supersonic fighter, entered service first in 2016 and the second squadron with the advanced Mk-1 version of the jet in Final Operational Clearance (FOC) joining the force on May 27, 2020, at Sulur Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore.

TEJAS has been primarily developed to replace the MiG-21 BISONs. The indigenous jet, designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), joined IAF's 45 Squadron IAF 'Flying Daggers' and is currently based at the Sulur Air Force Station while the Mk-1 version was inducted into IAF's 18 Squadron 'Flying Bullets'.

The IAF currently operates about 20 Tejas jets in the two squadrons. "While orders of 40 Tejas aircraft had been placed with HAL in initial configurations, DAC paved the way for procurement of 83 of the more advanced Mk1A version of the aircraft from HAL by finalising the contractual and other issues. The proposal will now be placed for consideration of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). This procurement will be a major boost to 'Make in India' as the aircraft is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured with participation of several local vendors apart from HAL," the Defence Ministry stated on March 18, 2020.

MiG-21 BISON, the first version of which joined the IAF way back in 1964, was India's most potent fighter for several decades before technological advancements brought combat aircraft with better radars, avionics, and armament on the horizon. The single-engine, single-seater multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft has the distinction of shooting down the much advanced F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) during the aerial skirmish over the skies of Jammu and Kashmir on February 27, 2020. IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman chased and shot down a PAF F-16 which was trying to enter the Indian airspace.

Mirage-2000, the jet which bombed Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Pakistan on February 26, 2019, following the suicide bombing of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, is one of the most versatile combat platforms in the IAF arsenal which can launch precision-guided munitions from a standoff range to hit targets deep inside the enemy territory. IAF operates 57 Mirage-2000 jets.

Another potent combat aircraft from Russia, the MiG-29 is a twin-engine, single-seater air superiority jet which has been upgraded to increase its fighting capabilities. There are 69 MiG-29s active in the IAF fleet.

IAF's SEPECAT Jaguar is a twin-engine, single-seater deep penetration strike aircraft and there are 139 such combat aircraft in service currently.

Rafale jets, 36 of which have been ordered for two IAF squadrons, will join active service soon. A group of IAF pilots, engineers and technicians are undergoing training on Rafale jets in France. While IAF No. 17 Squadron 'Golden Arrows' based at Ambala Air Force Station in Haryana will be the first to be equipped with the Rafale, No. 101 Squadron Falcons at Hasimara Air Force Station in West Bengal will welcome the French omnirole fighters later.