IAF's 'Game-Changing' Lethal Flying Machines

Amid heightened tensions between Indian and China since the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh, the armed forces of the two nuclear-powered countries are in the highest alert mode. While the Indian Army has increased deployment of its troops near the Line of Actual Control, the Indian Air Force has also increased surveillance and patrolling in the high-altitude regions in Ladakh. 

The IAF has seven commands including Western, Eastern, Central, South Western, Southern, Training, and Maintenance. The active-duty force of the IAF is approximately 140,000. The IAF which operates more than 1,700 aircraft, including approximately 900 combat aircraft, has recently inducted several lethal flying machines, which give an edge to India over Pakistan and China in case of a war. Let’s have a look at them -

Apache: IAF's Day/Night, All-Weather Attack Missions Helicopters

Apache: The recently inducted Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters enable the IAF to perform day/night, all-weather attack missions especially in rugged mountain regions of Indo-China borders. They are stealthy, versatile machines, designed for all kinds of missions. 

It comes equipped with laser and infrared systems for day-night operations and armed with air-to-surface Hellfire missiles, 70 mm rockets and an automatic cannon. The Apache will replace the Russian Mi 35 that IAF has been operating for years and are due to retire. AH-64 Apache has a twin turbo-shaft engine with a tail wheel-type landing gear and a tandem two-crew cockpit. It has a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.

IAF's Tejas Fighter Jet

LCH & Rudra: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s indigenously Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) and HAL Rudra attack helicopters are dedicated for combat missions. In a significant achievement for the indigenous fighter aircraft programme, the IAF has deployed the home-grown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas on the western front along the Pakistan border in view of the tensions with China on the Ladakh front.

Chinook- IAF's Multi-Mission Helicopter

Chinook: India has an advanced rotorcraft fleet making it a strong contender to China. The IAF’s CH-47F Chinook, Mil Mi-26, Mil Mi-8, Mil Mi-17, Mi-17 1V, and Mi-17V 5 are intended for heavy and medium-lift strategic and utility roles.

IAF C-17 Globemaster III Air Lifters

C-17 Globemaster III: India’s state-of-the-art strategic air lifters, including the C-17 and C-130J, ensure rapid transfer of equipment and supplies to airbases near the LAC, which is the need of the hour for ground forces on the battlefield. The C-17 Globemaster III, C-130J-30, Ilyushin Il-76, Antonov An-32, and Dornier Do 228 aircraft form part of the IAF’s transport aircraft inventory.

IAF's Anti-Drone System Developed By DRDO

DRDO’s Anti-Drone System: An anti-drone system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) can detect and jam micro drones up to 3 kilometres and use laser to bring down a target up to 1-2.5 kilometres depending on the wattage of laser weapon. The DRDO system can detect and identify drone threats at a moment’s instance and terminate them. Unmanned aerial vehicles, mostly of small size, are called drones. It can be an effective counter to increased drone-based activity in the western and northern sectors of the country.

DRDO-Developed AEW&C System

AEW&C system: The IAF currently operates indigenously developed DRDO’s AEW&C system, which is based on the Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft, and the EL/W-2090 Phalcon AEW&C installed on the Beriev A-50 platform.

IAF's AN-32 Transport Aircraft

AN-32 transport aircraft: As compared to China, the IAF owns AN-32 transport aircraft and multi-role fighters for crucial bombing missions.

MiG-29 Multi-Role Aircraft & Jaguar All-Weather Attack Aircraft

MiG-29 & Jaguars: The IAF fleet also includes all-weather MiG-29 multi-role aircraft and Jaguar all-weather attack aircraft.

Sukhoi Su-30MKI - IAF Primary Air Superiority Fighters

Sukhoi Su-30 MKI: Sukhoi Su-30MKI serves the IAF as the primary air superiority fighter with the capability to perform air-to-ground strike missions. The IAF operates more than 270 Su-30MKIs and is fielding HAL-developed Tejas fourth-generation multi-role light fighters to replace its ageing fleet of MiG-21 interceptor aircraft.

IAF's Nuclear-Capable Rafales

Rafale: As compared to China’s Chengdu J-20, which is a 5th generation combat jet, the performance of Rafale has already been witnessed in Afghanistan, Libya, and Mali. While the difference and the combat capacity of Pakistan’s F-16 and India’s Rafale are quite similar, the Rafale has been customized according to India’s warfare experience and is nuclear-capable fighter jets which lack in Pakistan’s F-16. This provides it an edge over the adversaries and strengthens the airpower of India which is extremely required under the present circumstances.

IAF's ‘Game-Changers’ Rafale Multi-Role Combat Fighters

Rafale: Projected as ‘game-changers’, the recent induction of Rafale multi-combat fighters jets from France has certainly added more firepower to the IAF and enabled it to maintain its air superiority over China’s J10, J11, and Su-27 fighter jets. Armed with Meteor very long-range and MICA beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missiles, the Rafale fighters are believed to pose a significant threat to Chinese aerial assets.