On the occasion of the 73rd Republic Day, here’s a list of all the active fighter jets used by the Indian Air Force, from India-made Tejas LCA to the Dassault Rafale

As a part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav commemorating 75 years of India’s independence, citizens will witness the "grandest flypast ever" at the Republic Day 2022. 75 aircrafts including the five Rafales will fly over Rajpath as part of the grand ceremony. While the IAF comprises some of the best cargo planes and helicopters, the focus, as usual, will be on the fighter jets.

The Indian Air Force is one of the mightiest in the world thanks to latest-gen aircrafts like Rafale, made by French Dassault Aviation to the trustable workhorse Sukhoi Su-30MKI. Also, India’s very own homemade HAL Tejas is also garnering a lot of limelight globally. So as India celebrates its 73rd Republic Day, we look at all the active fighter jets used by the Indian Air Force.

Dassault Rafale

Dassault Rafale is one of the world’s most advanced fighter jet made by the French aviation giant. IAF’s firepower increased multi-fold after induction of the multi-role combat aircraft, 36 of which will be part of India’s winged armed force. The first squadron of the aircraft is deployed at the Ambala Air Force Station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF. The Dassault Rafale is based on the delta wing architecture that helps it achieve G-forces as high as 11G. India has placed an order for both single and dual seating cabin Rafales and the aircraft is capable of carrying a most advanced weapons with latest-gen avionics and mechanicals.

HAL Tejas

One of the proudest moments for make-in-India campaign is the induction of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited made Tejas LCA (Light Combat Aircraft). India has long been borrowing its fighter jets from countries like Russia, France and Britain and the Tejas was conceptualized to replace the ageing Soviet sourced MiG-21. IAF has placed an order of 40 Tejas Mk 1, including 32 single-seat aircraft and eight twin-seat trainers. IAF has also initiated procurement of a further 73 single-seat fighters in Mk 1A configuration. The Tejas is also made on Delta-winged structure is among the most advanced jets of India.

Sukhoi Su-30MKI

Before Rafale entered service in the IAF, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI used to be the most advanced fighter jets in India. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is made by HAL under license agreement with Russia’s Sukhoi and is fondly called Flanker. Used exclusively by the Indian Air Force, there’s an estimated close to 300 units of 30MKI, the first unit being inducted in 2002. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI can carry a wide range of equipment and armaments and has a top speed of Mach 2 (2120 kmph).

Mikoyan MiG-21

The infamous MiG-21 Bison is the first supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history and also the most sold fighter jets in the world. While it’s more than 60 years old, the MiG-21 is still in service in India and has been updated to match generation 3 fighter jets. Remember the episode of Abhinandan Varthaman whose jet crashed in the enemy territory? Well, he was flying a MiG-21 Bison. The jets are currently being used only as Interceptors with a limited role as fighter jets.


The Mirage-2000 is undoubtedly one of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) most versatile and deadliest aircraft and it was first commissioned in 1985. Soon after inducting the Mirage, IAF gave it the name – Vajra – meaning lightning thunderbolt in Sanskrit. The Mirage-2000 is developed by Dassault Aviation and took its first flight in 1978 and was inducted in the French Air Force in 1984. India placed an initial order of 36 single-seater Mirage-2000 and 4 twin-seater Mirage 2000 in 1982 as an answer to Pakistan buying the US-made F-16 fighter jets by Lockheed Martin. The Mirage-2000 played a decisive role in the 1999 war of Kargil and seeing the success of the jets, the government in India placed an additional order of 10 Mirage-2000 planes in 2004, taking the total tally to 50 jets.

Mikoyan MiG-27

The MiG 27 is again Soviet sourced ground-attack aircraft designed by Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau from the Soviet Union and manufactured by HAL under a license agreement. The MiG27 is known as ‘Bahadur’ (meaning Valiant in English) in India and the IAF retired the last 27 ML squadron in 2017. India is only among a handful of countries who still operates the updated MiG-27 UPG ground attack aircraft. The 27s are based on the MiG23 with a redesigned nose and flies low altitude.


The SEPECAT Jaguar is a fighter jet developed together by British Royal Air Force and French Air Force. Only the Indian Air Force is currently using the upgraded Jaguar in active duty. The SEPECAT Jaguar is known as Shamsher and serves IAF as primary ground attack aircraft. 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.

Mikoyan MiG-29

Last on our list is another Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau produced MiG called the MiG 29. Introduced in the 1970s to counter U.S. F-Series planes like F-15 and F-16 the MiG29 is known as Baaz (Hindi for Hawk) and 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-29 UPG, the most advanced MiG-29 variant ever. The MiG29 were used extensively during the Kargil War by the Indian Air Force to provide escort for Mirage-2000 attacking targets with laser-guided bombs.