The Indian Air Force (IAF) today is a modern, technology-intensive force. The IAF has become a multi-role capable force. Over the years it has grown from a tactical force to one with transoceanic reach. It means our Air Force can go to any part of the world on a mission. It has been used recently for airlifting Indians from Iraq and Yemen.

The strategic reach is because it has many big aircrafts such as the C17 Globemaster, mid-air Flight Refuelling Aircraft, Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

Helicopters

The IAF's helicopter fleet has steadily increased in numbers over the past few years, from a handful in the 60s to over 500 French, Indian and Soviet built helicopters. The Mi-26 is a heavy lift helicopter. The bulk of helicopter fleet are Medium Lift Helicopters (MI-17 / MI-17IV / MI-17V5 and Mi-8s). Medium Lift Helicopters of IAF are operated for commando assault tasks, ferrying supplies and personnel to remote mountain helipads, carrying out Search and Rescue Operations and logistic support tasks.

The Chetak / Cheetah helicopter fleet has been the backbone in this as well as in Casualty Evacuation and Route Transport role in the IAF. Recently Made in India helicopter Dhruv (ALH) has been inducted into the Air Force.

Major Equipment and Aircraft

These comprise of fighters, transports and helicopters

Fighters

  • SU-30 MKI: Twin seater twin engine multirole fighter of Russian origin. It is capable of carrying a variety of medium-range guided air-to-air missiles. It has a max speed of 2500 km/hr (Mach 2.35).

  • Mirage-2000: A single seater air defence and multi-role fighter of French origin can attain max speed of 2495 km/hr (Mach 2.3). It carries cannons and close combat missiles on external stations.

  • MiG-29: Twin engine, single seater air superiority fighter aircraft of Russian origin capable of attaining max. speed of 2445 km per hour (Mach-2.3), carries a 30 mm cannon alongwith close combat and medium range radar guided missiles.

  • MiG-27: Single engine, single seater tactical strike fighter aircraft of Russian origin having a max. speed of 1700 km/hr (Mach 1.6), carries cannon and upto 4000 kg of other armament externally.

  • Jaguar: A twin-engine, single seater deep penetration strike aircraft of Anglo-French origin which has a max. speed of 1350 km/hr (Mach 1.3). It has guns and can carry 4750 kg of external stores (bombs/fuel).

  • MiG-21 BISON: Single engine, single seater multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft of Russian origin which forms the back-bone of the IAF. It has a max speed of 2230 km/hr (Mach 2.1) and carries one 23 mm twin barrel cannon with close combat missiles.

  • Tejas: This is an indegenous air craft which is being inducted as light combat air craft.

Transport

  • C-130J: The aircraft is capable of paradrop, heavy drop, casualty evacuation and can operate from short and semi prepared surfaces.

  • C-17: It carries 40-70 tons up to a of 4200-9000 km in a single hop.

  • IL-76: A four engine heavy duty/long haul military transport aircraft of Russian origin with a max speed of 850 km/hr. It has a capacity of 225 paratroopers or 40 tonnes freight.

  • AN-32: Twin engine turboprop, medium tactical transport aircraft of Russian origin with capacity to carry 39 paratroopers or max load of 6.7 tonnes.

  • AVRO: Twin engine turboprop, military transport of British origin having a capacity of 48 paratroopers or 6 tonnes freight and max cruise speed of 452 km/hr.

  • Dornier: Twin engine turboprop, logistic air support transport of German origin capable of carrying 19 passengers or 2057 kg.

  • Boeing 737-200: Twin engine turbofan, VIP passenger aircraft of American origin with total seating capacity of upto 60 passengers. It has a max cruise speed of 943 km/hr.

Helicopters

  • MI-25/MI-35: Twin engine turboshaft, assault and anti armour helicopter capable of carrying 8 men assault squad with rotary gun and upto 1500 Kg of external ordnance including anti-tank missiles.

  • MI-26: Twin engine turboshaft, military heavy lift helicopter of Russian origin with carrying capacity of 70 combat equipped troops or 20 tons payload.

  • MI-17 V5: The Mi-17 V5 is a potent helicopter platform.

  • Chetak: Single engine turboshaft, light utility French helicopter with capacity of 6 passengers or 500 kg load.

  • Cheetah: Single engine turboshaft helicopter of French origin having capacity to carry 3 passengers or 100 kg external sling loads.