The Indian Air Force is the fourth largest air force in the world and boasts of some very powerful aircraft in its inventory. Whether it is fighters ranging from multi role air superiority fighters to ground attack and interceptors or refueling and transport aircraft that can carry tons of machinery, the IAF has them all.
The IAF has a size of 1,40,000 active personnel and about 1820 active aircraft. The main responsibility of IAF is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare. It has both land bases and carrier-based aircraft that operate out of the sea. Such aircraft involve themselves in both ASW operation and land-based missions.
Sukhoi Su-30 MKI
The Sukhoi Su-30 MKI is undoubtedly the most advanced and powerful aircraft that the IAF possesses. Powered by two Lyulka Al-31FP thrust vectoring turbofans producing 27,560-pound force each with afterburner, the aircraft is capable of flight at mach 3. The IAF has around 200 of these and they are used as multi role air superiority fighters.
The Dassault Rafale is the latest addition to the IAF inventory. Manufactured by the French Company Dassault, which makes the Mirage 2000 as well, it is an omni role fighter that can fly at speeds of 1,920km/h. It is equipped with Meteor BVRAAM missiles and the aircraft were added in 2019.
Mikoyan Mig 29
The Mig series has been a part of the IAF since their first generation fighters and the Mig-29 is no different. Made by Russian manufacturers Mikoyan, it was first bought by the IAF in the world and was used extensively in the 1999 Kargil war effectively to dominate the skies. The twin engine aircraft is powered by two Klimov RD-33 afterburning turbofans producing 18,300-pound force of thrust each.
Dassault Mirage 2000
Another creation of French manufacturer Dassault, the Mirage 2000 at, one point, India’s most potent multirole air superiority aircraft. The IAF has 59 of these with 49 of them bought in the late 80’s and the rest in 2004. The aircraft are upgraded in regular intervals and powered by a single SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofan which can achieve a top speed of 2,336 km/h.
The only Anglo-french creation in the IAF’s inventory, the Jaguar is a creation of SEPECAT. After originally ordering 200 of these, 120 of them were built by the HAL under the Indian moniker – Shamsher (Sword of Justice). It is a twin-engine aircraft that has Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mk 102 turbofans providing 5,115-pound force of thrust each.