Military Aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

Military aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force can be divided into three categories as per their role – Fighter Planes, Transportation Aircrafts, Training Aircrafts and Helicopters. These aircrafts are used not only during wars and combats but also during humanitarian, civilian, training, search and rescue operations. The terminology of fighter planes often use Generation, viz first generation, second generation etc. The first generation technology uses rotary piston type propeller engines. The second generation fighters replaced piston engines with turbo-prop engines.equipped with traditional ammunition. The third generation included single/double turbo-jet engines along with advanced avionics and BVR guided missiles. The 4 and 4.5 generations jets are ones with hypersonic speeds, advanced avionics, multiple sensors, radars ánd much better control systems. The latest of the trend 5th generation includes stealth characteristics to the fighter jets. The list below explains about Military aircrafts and different fighter planes of Indian Air Force.

Air Superiority type Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force : MIG 21

Military Aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

* MIG 21

  • Original Manufacturer – Mikoyan Gurevich, Russia
  • Technology – Supersonic, 2nd generation, single engine
  • Built by – Partly from Russia, remaining by HAL under license
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 1962
  • Status – Decommissioned in 2013

MIG 21 is the first  supersonic fighter plane of India which was introduced as fleet of 8 planes in Indian Air Force in year 1962. MIG 21 has a glorious past and it is still used by more than 60 nations throughout the globe even after 50 years of its maiden flight. An estimated 11,496 MIG 21 fighter planes have been built by so far which gives it the honour of maximum produced fighter plane of world.

Since MIG 21 was just inducted to Indian Army in 1962 and training of the pilots were not completed till the war of 1965, these fighter planes of India couldn’t be utilized to maximum potential in India’s 1965 War with Pakistan. These aircrafts were mainly used in defensive lines during 1965. But this taught a remarkable experience to Indian pilots. MIG 21 fighters under hands of fully matured pilots displayed formidable combat and a pure class of complete air dominance during liberation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) war of 1971.

Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force : Dassault Mirage 2000

Military Aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

* Dassault Mirage 2000

  • Original Manufacturer – Dassault Aviation, France
  • Technology – Single engine, fourth generation
  • Built by – Dassault Aviation, France
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 1980
  • Status – in service
  • Indian Name – Vajra

India purchased 49 Mirage 2000 from France in year 1980 and renamed it as Vajra before induction in Indian Air Force. It was upgraded by Dassault in 1985 and nuclear warhead carrying capability was added. Mirage 2000 played a remarkable role in the high altitudes of Kashmir during Kargil war with pakistan in 1999. Although the role of Indian Air Force during Kargil was limited as the government of India didn’t wanted to cross the LOC, still Mirage 2000 fighter planes made more than 500 shorties and used both traditional as well as laser guided bombs to destroy the enemy bunkers. Again a new contract was signed with Dassault, France for upgradation of entire fleet of 49 fighter planes in year 2011. The upgraded fighter jets are to be equipped with new avionics system and MICS missiles. Very recently a new achievement was made by Indian Air Force when they test-landed one of Mirage 2000 to Yamuna Expressway near Delhi as trial for emergency landing on roads.

Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force : MIG 29

Military Aircrafts and Fighter planes of Indian Air Force

* MIG 29 getting refuelled mid-air

  • Original Manufacturer – Mikoyan – Gurevich, Russia
  • Built by – Mikoyan, Russia
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 1985
  • Status – in service
  • Units in service – 69
  • Indian Name – Baaz

This twin engine based fighter jet was originally designed in 1970s by Mikoyan Design Bureau, Russia to counter the American F 15 and F16 fighter planes.  MIG 29 was renamed as BAAZ before induction in Indian Air Force in 1985. This has three different variants – MIG 29 M, MIG 29 K and MIG 35. 29M is multiple role version while 29K is naval version. MIG 35 is the most advanced variant which has latest avionics and sensor and even the capability of mid air refuelling. Indian Air Force is the most prominent users of this fighter jet. After procurement of MIG 29 fighter planes from Russia in 1980, a number of different upgrades to boost the capability of this aircraft was carried out. The most important upgrades were air to air missile, beyond visual range, mid air refuelling and advanced avionics from Israel. MIG 29 fighter planes were used by India during Kargil war of 1999 for close air supports in general and escorting Mirage 2000 in particular.

Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force : Sukhoi Su 30

Military Aircrafts and Fighter planes of Indian Air Force

* Sukhoi Su 30

  • Original Manufacturer – Sukhoi, Russia
  • Built by – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, under license
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 2002
  • Status – in service
  • Units in service – 220

Sukhoi SU30 technology is originally from Russia which is built under license by HAL, India. This fighter plane is the heavy combat air superiority type and considered as the backbone of Indian Air Force.  220 units of Sukhoi Su-30 are in service by 2014 end and additional 280 are in queue which are expected to be produced by 2018. This fighter jet depicts the pure class of advanced Russian technology which is equipped with mighty French and Israeli Avionics. In the first deal with Russia in 1996 India purchased preassembled 50 Sukhoi Su-30 Fighter planes. The second deal of year 2000 consists of technology transfer and licensed production of nearly 150 units at HAL, India.  The original version of Sukhoi Su-30 fighters weren’t meant for carrying nuclear ammunitions but it was later proposed to carry out upgradation to carry Brahmos and Nirbhay Nuclear missiles.

Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force : LCA – Tejas

military aircrafts and fighter planes of indian Air Force

Tejas during trial run at Leh

  • Original Manufacturer – HAL, India
  • Built by – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 2015
  • Status – in service

The Light Combat Aircraft which is designed endogenously by HAL was named as Tejas by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This is a single jet engine type, supersonic, light multi role fighter aircraft which took its maiden flight on 4th Jan 2001. The program of India’s own developed fighter plane started way back in year 1980 for the purpose to phase out the ageing MIG 21 fighter jets. This is important to note that (as against the popular belief that LCA- Tejas is first own Fighter plane of HAL) LCA- Tejas is the HAL’s second indigenous fighter plane while first indigenous plane was HF-24 Marut which was de-commissioned from Indian Air Force in 1985.

Major Ground Attack Fighter Planes of India

Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force : Jaguar

Military Aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

Jaguar

  • Original Manufacturer – SEPECAT, Joint venture of France and England
  • Built by – partly at Warton, England and remaining at HAL, India under License.
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 2015
  • Status – in service
  • Indian Name – Shamsher

Jaguar fighter planes were produced originally as result of Joint venture between England and France. It is basically a ground attach fighter plane which was used by both British and French Air Forces. India placed the order for Jaguar flighter planes in 1978 which consisted of 1) fleet of 40 assembled units from Europe and 2) fleet of 120 to be built at HAL, India with License and technology transfer. The jaguar fighters which were built in HAL were renamed as Shamsher. There are plans for upgradation of the ageing out Jaguar fighters to replace the Avionics.

Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force : MIG 27

Military Aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

MIG 27

  • Original Manufacturer – Mikoyan- Gurevich, Russia
  • Built by – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, under License
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 
  • Status – all 165 units grounded
  • Indian Name – Bahadur

The MIG 27 is based on the same airframe structure as that of MIG 23. It is also a ground attack type of aircraft which was produced by HAL under license alongwith technology transfer. MIG 27 was renamed as Bahadur before getting inducted in Indian Air Force. A number of MIG 27 fighter planes (about 12) were crashed. All fleet of 150 fighters were grounded in 2010 after the crashe of Silliguri. The entire fleet is shortly going to be de-commissioned in 2017.

Important Transportation Aircrafts

Hawker HS 748

  • Original Manufacturer – Joint Venture of Avro and Hawker Siddeley, England
  • Technology – twin engines, turbo-propeller type
  • Built in India by – HAL, under license
  • Units – 89 units of HS 748 and 20 units of HS 748 2M series built by HAL, Bangalore
  • Year of Induction to IAF – under name Vayu-dut in Indian Air Force and also in Indian Airlines
  • Use – Both Indian Air Force and Indian Air lines for transport purpose
  • Present Status – decommissioned

Dornier Do 228

Military Aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

Dornier Do 228

  •  Original Manufacturer – Dornier Flugzeugwerke
  • Technology – twin engine, turbo-propeller type, multi-utility
  • Built in India by – HAL, under license
  • Units – 125
  • Year of Induction – 1983
  • Use – Coast Guard, Indian Navy, Govt operations, VIPs, Para-military Forces etc
  • Present Status – under active service

Ilyushin IL-78

Military Aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

Ilushin IL 78

  • Manufacturer – Ilushin, Russia
  • Technology – ability to refuel 3 fighter jets at a time
  • Use – Mid-air refueling Tanker (In Indian Air Force it is renamed as MARS – Mid Air refueling system)
  • No of Units – 7
  • Present Status – in active service

 

C17 Globemaster

Military Aircrafts and Fighter Planes of Indian Air Force

*The Giant C17 Globemaster

  • Manufacturer – McDonnell Douglas-Boeing, US
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 2013
  • Status – 10 units in active service

This military transport aircraft was originally built by Boeing and McDonnell Douglas togather for US Air Force. This is primarly meant for rapid airlifting and transporting troops, cargo, equipments and warfare materials, tanks etc. In year 2010 India passed the order of 10 C17 Globemaster for its Air Force and the shipment was received from a period of 2013-2014. Additional 6 more units were also ordered in 2012 and  that delivery is in pipeline. As a part of test Indian Air Force landed successfully the Globemaster near Dharmshala airport, Himachal Pradesh in year 2010.

C 130J Super Hercules

Military aircrafts and fighter planes of Indian Air Force

C 130J landing in Laddakh

  • Manufacturer – Lockheed Martin, US
  • Year of Induction to IAF – 2013
  • Status – 5 units in active service

This heavy duty transport aircraft was originally built by Lockheed Martin, United States. It is used basically for not only military transport but for civilian and other related humanitarian rescue operations. It is not a jet based engine rather four turbo-prop engines. Presently (upto 2015) 5 units of C 130J are in active service in India and in addition to that 12 additional units have been ordered in 2013. Recently Indian Air Force displayed its military might and trial-landed C 130J Super Hercules in Laddakh. This landing is the highest ever landing of C 130J in world and is considered as the trial for transporting and airlifting its troops in remote areas in times of urgency.

 

Some other important Transportation and Special Operations Aircrafts include Illyushin II-78 (Russia), Antonov An32 (Russia), Gulfstream III (US), A50 Phalcon (Russia), IAI Astra (from Israel) and Bombardier 5000 (Canada).

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*  The images shown may not necessarily represent the fighter jets of Indian Air Force but it may be of original manufacturer or some Air Force of some different countries.