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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

IAF Top Brass in its assessment of its vulnerabilities, post-Balakot attack in February wants to fast track development of local indigenous fighter jet program and has asked both HAL which is working on upgraded Tejas Mk1A and ADA which is working on Medium Combat Fighter (MCF) to fast track the program and also ensure that the program stick to their original schedule as agreed up with the Indian Air force informed Industrial sources close to idrw.org.

IAF has identified Medium Combat Fighter (MCF) fighter program has one of the key elements in ramping up shortfalls of fighter jet fleet in numbers due to the planned retirement of older jets especially, Mig-27 and Mig-21 Squadrons. ADA for the first time had displayed a scale model of MCF fighter jet earlier this year and already has started ground works for construction of Two pre-production models which will be ready for first flight by 2023 according to ADA.

HAL which is working on upgraded Tejas Mk1A is currently engaged in development work of previous order for remaining 20 Tejas Mk1 jets ordered by IAF and will start construction of pre-production IOC Certified Tejas Mk1A jets in 2020 and has promised to carry out its first flight by 2022 and enter production by 2025.

IAF has a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons but it is down to 31, IAF plans to add 36 Dassault Rafale, 18 Sukhoi-Su-30MKI and 21 Mig-29UPG as Interim measures to raise squadrons levels and in long term plans to procure 83 more Tejas’s baseline version Mk1A, and 201 MCF and 114 Multi-role Medium Combat jets. IAF plans to have at least 200 brand new jets being inducted from 2025 onwards till 2030 and another 100 by 2035.

IAF is also likely to take a call on procurement of Sukhoi-Su-57E in off the shelf Government to Government deal with Russia and start official work on the development of India’s 5th Generation AMCA fighter jet program so that post-2025, AMCA program attains maturity and is ready to enter production in 2032.

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