April 22, 2021
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Still in dilemma
IAF fighter requirement for future

The Indian Air Force has projected a requirement of an additional 200 aircraft to be able to put up a credible defence of Indian airspace in the event of a two-front war.

However, there is an acknowledged acceptance that the Chinese can overwhelm Indian air defences by sheer force of numbers but the IAF is sanguine that it will not be a cakewalk.

The Indian dilemma has been the difficulty in quick replacement of fighter aircraft that have outlived their designed life.

Most of these are ex-Soviet MiG-21 aircraft which were scheduled to be replaced by the indigenously developed light combat aircraft, Tejas which has taken an exceedingly long time to fructify. It is now airborne and set for final operational clearance before induction into squadron service.

In the meantime, the IAF has managed to hold the fort with upgradations of aircraft that still have more than a decade of airframe life.

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