Just ahead of the Union government’s decision to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft from France in fly-away condition, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had raised alarm with a Parliamentary panel
28th Apr 2015
Just ahead of the Union government’s decision to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft from France in fly-away condition, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had raised alarm with a Parliamentary panel that the already underway drawdown would bring the IAF to just 25 squadrons in the next seven years by 2022-thereby losing even the “slight edge” the IAF has over “rival neighbouring nation.” The standing committee on defence chaired by Maj Gen B C Khanduri (retd) on Monday presented a report before the Parliament pulling the government for delays in acquisitions which have affected the modernisation of the forces-mainly IAF and the Army.
“Representatives of IAF deposed before the committee that a drawdown has already begun and, by 2022, the air force will have around just 25 squadrons, thereby losing even the slight edge over rival neighbouring nation,” the standing committee report said. The IAF, which is down to 35 operational squadrons against its stipulated strength of 42 received a reliever when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his visit to France announced that 36 Rafale fighter jets would be bought from France in fly-away condition. This number, corresponding to just two squadrons is unlikely to help the IAF which is hoping for a decision on more number of Rafale jets. The earlier on process, of procuring 126 jets, has already been scrapped.
Noting that the IAF is likely to achieve authorised strength of 42 squadrons only by 2032, the report said: “The committee is perturbed to note that no concrete results have so far come from MMRCA negotiations and LCA has certain design/development issues that need a relook.” It cited that budgetary provision of Rs 18,866 crore for the procurement of aircraft and aero engines was much less than the actual expenditure incurred under this head over the last two years