New Delhi: Indian Air Force is tasked with securing Indian airspace and conducting aerial activities during armed conflicts.

The 88th Indian Air Force day holds special significance because the first batch of five Rafale fighters was formally inducted last month, in a major shot in the arms for the Indian Air Force.

Notably, India has the fourth largest operational air force in the world. More than 1,70,000 personnel and over 1,400 aircraft are in service with the Indian Air Force. Its personnel and aircraft assets rank fourth amongst the air forces of the world.

Here is a look at IAF's fighter jets:


As one of this year's most awaited defence purchases, the French origin Rafale is a 4.5 generation, twin-engine omni-role equipped to carry out a wide range of missions including in-depth strikes, anti-ships attacks and nuclear deterrence.

Marking its first public appearance since arrival on Indian soil, the Rafale fighter jet features in this year's Air Force Day parade.


The Mirage-2000 is one of the Indian Air Force's (IAF) most versatile and deadliest aircraft of French origin that can attain a maximum speed of 2,495 km/hr by a single engine.

The aircraft is inducted in IAF 1985 and played a decisive role in the 1999 war of Kargil and 2019's Balakot air strike.


MiG-21 is one of the most known fighter jets on Earth which forms the backbone of the IAF played a major role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. In 1961, IAF opted for the MiG-21 and since then has bought more than 250 estimated units of this incredibly competent planes.

It has a maximum speed of 2,230 km/hr and carries one 23mm twin barrel cannon with four R-60 close combat missiles.

MiG-27- Bahadur

MiG-27 swing-wing fighter aircraft has been the backbone of ground attack fleet of Indian Air Force (IAF) for the past four decades.

MiG-27 aircrafts has earned the the moniker 'Bahadur' from IAF pilots for the lethal role they had played during the 1999 Kargil War.

On December 27, the Indian Air Force retired its fleet of MiG-27s.

Sukhoi Su-30MKI

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a multirole combat fighter aircraft jointly developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The fighter jets of the new squadron can carry BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. India achieved indigenously overhauling capability of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet. The IAF received the first domestically overhauled Sukhoi Su-30MKI in October 2018.

SEPECAT Jaguar - Shamsher

Only the Indian Air Force is currently using the upgraded Jaguar in active duty. Indian Jaguar is quite different from the RAF's Jaguar and are built locally by HAL under a license agreement.

IAF recently upgraded its entire fleet of Jaguars by adding Avionics support. The only problem with the Jaguar is its inability to fly high altitude with heavy load on board.


MiG-29 forms the second line of defence after the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. The MiG-29 is exported to more than 30 nations, India being the first and one of the largest exporters of this jet. The IAF currently uses the upgraded MiG-29UPG, the most advanced MiG-29 variant ever.

The MiG-29 were used extensively during the Kargil War by the Indian Air Force to provide escort for Mirage-2000 attacking targets with laser-guided bombs.