Forces: The Incredible Shrinking Indian Air Force

Archives

May 27, 2007: The Indian Air Force is authorized 45 fighter squadrons, each with about twenty aircraft. But because so many of its MiG (21, 23 and 27) fighters are wearing out so quickly, India will only have about 28 squadrons by the end of the year. Only about ten of those squadrons are modern aircraft (Mig-29, Su-30 and Mirage 2000), the rest are the older MiGs that are still flyable. India is refurbishing its MiG-29s, and shopping for 126 modern fighters from whoever will give them the best deal for about $7 billion. Meanwhile, there is no immediate threat. Pakistan is the only real enemy in the region, and their smaller fighter fleet is also aging.

One unfortunate side effect of the rapid retirement of so many aircraft, is that there are now no flying jobs for nearly a thousand Indian fighter pilots. Most are now sitting at desks, and many would like to leave the service and make a lot more money flying civilian transports. Like all air forces, the Indian pilots joined up so they could fly. But the older Russian aircraft were designed for doctrine developed in the defunct Soviet Union. Back then, the Soviets sought to save money by not flying their warplanes nearly as much as Western air forces. The Soviets did not depend on skilled pilots, but lots of aircraft. That strategy has since been discarded, and everyone is trying to improve the training of their pilots.

 


Article Archive

Forces: Current 2020 2019 2018 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close