Indian Air Force - Role and Equipment

The Indian Air Force was raised on 8 Oct 1932 as a supplementary support for the British Air force. It was called Royal Indian Air Force. Post-independence, after the country became Republic in 1950 the Royal Indian Air Force was rechristened Indian Air Force (IAF). Since 1950 the IAF has participated in four wars with Pakistan and one with China. The IAF has excelled in operations like Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Pawan.

The IAF's has also been shouldering the responsibility of actively contributing with its manpower and aircrafts for the United Nations Peace Keeping Missions. The IAF today is ranked fourth in the world owing to its might and professionalism. It is modernising at an accelerated pace and stands as a credible air power among the foremost Air Force powers in the world. The IAF has in its inventory, Fighters, Transport aircrafts, Helicopters, Air Defence Missiles and Radars.


MiG-21 BISON - Single engine, single seater multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft of Russian origin which forms the backbone of the IAF. It has a maximum speed of 2230 km/hr (Mach 2.1) and carries one 23 mm twin barrel cannon with four R-60 close combat missiles.

Jaguar A twin-engine, single seater deep penetration strike aircraft of Anglo-French origin which has a maximum speed of 1350 km/hr (Mach 1.3). It has two 30 mm guns and can carry two R-350 Magic CCMs (overwing) along with 4750 kg of external stores (bombs/fuel).

MiG-27 - Single engine, single seater tactical strike fighter aircraft of Russian origin having a maximum speed of 1700 km/hr (Mach 1.6). It carries one 23 mm six-barrel rotary integral cannon and can carry upto 4000 kg of other armament externally.

MiG-29 - Twin engine, single seater air superiority fighter aircraft of Russian origin capable of attaining maximum speed of 2445 km per hour (Mach-2.3). It has a combat ceiling of 17 km. It carries a 30 mm cannon along with four R-60 close combat and two R-27 R medium range radar guided missiles.

Mirage-2000 - A single seater air defence and multi-role fighter of French origin powered by a single engine can attain maximum speed of 2495 km/hr (Mach 2.3). It carries two 30 mm integral cannons and two matra super 530D medium-range and two R-550 magic II close combat missiles on external stations.

SU-30 MKI - Twin seater, twin engine multirole fighter of Russian origin which carries One X 30 mm GSH gun along with 8000 kg external armament. It is capable of carrying a variety of medium-range guided air to air missiles with active or semi-active radar or Infrared homing close range missiles. It has a max speed of 2500 km/hr (Mach 2.35)

Tejas - It is India's light combat aircraft and is the highest multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft of its class. It will contribute towards achieving self sufficiency in production of defence equipment.

Transport Aircrafts

Avro - Twin engine turboprop, military transport and freighter of British origin having a capacity of 48 paratroopers or 6 tonnes freight and maximum cruise speed of 452 km/hr.

Embraer - The main role of employment of this executive Jet Aircraft is to convey VVIPs/VIPs to destinations within India and abroad. Air HQ Communication Squadron operates this aircrafts and it has maintained a flawless incident/accident free track record till date.

Boeing 737 - Twin engine turbofan, VIP passenger aircraft of American origin with total seating capacity of up to 60 passengers. It has a maximum cruise speed of 943 km/hr.

AN-32 -Twin engine turboprop, medium tactical transport aircraft of Russian origin with a crew of five and capacity to carry 39 paratroopers or maximum load of 6.7 tonnes. It has a max cruise speed of 530 km/hr.

IL-76 - A four engine heavy duty/long haul military transport aircraft of Russian origin with a maximum speed of 850 km/hr. It has a twin 23 mm cannon in tail turret and capacity to carry 225 paratroopers or 40 tonnes freight, wheeled or tracked armoured vehicles.

C-17 - The aircraft is capable of carrying a payload of 40-70 tons up to a distance of 4200-9000 km in a single hop. It gives IAF strategic air lift capability and has been used effectively in evacuating people strandled in other countries like Yaman Libya.

C-130J - The aircraft is capable of performing para drop, heavy drop, casuality evacuation and can also operate from short and semi prepared surfaces.

Cheetah - Single engine turbo shaft, helicopter of French origin having capacity to carry 3 passengers or 100 kg external sling loads. It has maximum cruise speed of 121 km/hr and can climb to 1 km in 4 minutes.

Chetak - Single engine turbo shaft, light utility French helicopter with capacity of 6 passengers or 500 kg load. It has a maximum speed of 220 km/hr.

MI-17 V5 - The Mi-17 V5 is a potent helicopter platform, equipped with modern avionics and glass cockpit instrumentation. They are equipped with state-of-art navigational equipment, avionics and weather radar.

MI-26 - Twin engine turbo shaft, military heavy lift helicopter of Russian origin with carrying capacity of 70 combat equipped troops or 20,000 kg payload. It has a maximum speed of 295 km/hr.

MI-25/MI-35 - Twin engine turbo shaft, assault and anti- armour helicopter capable of carrying 8 men assault squad with four barrel 12.7 mm rotary gun and upto 1500 kg
of ammunition including Scorpion anti-tank missiles. It has a maximum cruise speed of 310 km/hr.

ALH Mark III - It has been made indigenously by HAL. It filled with electronic warfare equipment. It can carry out military operations by day and night.