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List of aircraft of the Indian Air Force: Wikis


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Indian Air Force
Ensign of the Indian Air Force.svg
Nabha Sparsham Deeptam
"Touch the Sky with Glory"
New Delhi
History and traditions
History of the Indian Air Force
(established October 8, 1932)
Marshal of the Indian Air Force
Chief of the Air Staff
Indian Air Force ranks and insignia
Aircraft of the Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force, often abbreviated as the IAF, is the world's fourth largest air force after the American, Russian and Chinese air force; and operates more than 550 combat and 1000 non-combat aircraft (including UAVs).Here is a list of those aircraft which have served the IAF, and also those which are currently or are expected to enter service:


Current Aircraft

Photo Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service [1] Notes on Aircraft

Combat aircraft

Sheeju mig21.JPG Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21  Soviet Union Intercepter Fighter MiG-21 Bison 108[2] 183 other MiG-21 versions are on process of retirement by 2012, while MiG-21 Bison are to stay in service till 2025.
HuAF MIG29UB.jpg Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum  Soviet Union Air Superiority Fighter Mig-29S 69.[3] To be upgraded to Mig-29SMT.[4]
SU-30MKI-g4sp - edit 2(clipped).jpg Sukhoi Su-30MKI Flanker-H  Russia Multi Role Fighter Su-30MKI 105+ as of Oct. 2009[5] 230 ordered , IAF has ordered 42 more MKIs to replace two lost to attrition brining to a total of 270 aircraft in 15 squadrons.2015-2016[6]
Dassault Mirage 2000 2.jpg Dassault Mirage 2000  France Multi Role Fighter Mirage 2000 H 46[7] To be upgraded to Mirage 2000-5 for Rs.10,000 crore. [8]
Total Combat aircraft
328 183 other MiG-21 versions are on process of retirement by 2012

Ground attack/Bomber Aircraft

Mig-27.jpg Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27  Soviet Union Ground Attack MiG-27UPG 99[9] 32 upgraded Mig 27, 56 not upgraded + 11 Mig 23 used as trainers.
IAF Jaguar.jpg Jaguar IS/IM  France
 United Kingdom
Bomber Jaguar IS/IM 102[10]
Total Ground attack/Bomber aircraft

Trainer aircraft

HAL Deepak.jpg HAL HPT-32 Deepak  India Basic Trainer (BJT) 70 ALL grounded since Oct 09; and to be retired soon officially.
HAL Kiran Aero India-2007.jpg HAL HJT-16 Kiran  India Intermediate Trainer (IJT) HJT-16 80
IAFBaeHawk.jpg BAE Hawk  United Kingdom Advanced Trainer (AJT) Hawk 132 23+5 [11][12] Total 66 ordered; 24 from BAE (1 crashed) + 42 from HAL (5 being delivered). BAE is also in negotiations for a follow on order for 57 Hawks which reportedly did not go through although the differences may have been ironed out.[13]
Total Trainers Aircraft


Meghdoot K3601.jpg Embraer EMB 135  Brazil VIP transport ECJ-135 Legacy 5
Boeing 737 fronte.jpg Boeing 737  United States VIP transport 737-200 3
RAAF BBJ 3.jpg Boeing Business Jet  United States VIP transport 737-800 3
Wiki dornierdo228 lgw1.jpg Dornier Do 228  Germany
very Light Transport Do 228-201 40
C-GBFA First Air HS748 (A748).JPG Hawker Siddeley HS 748  United Kingdom Light Transport HS 748-100 64
An32roh.JPG Antonov An-32 Cline  Soviet Union Medium Transport An-32 105
IL-78 Lajes.jpg Ilyushin Il-76 Candid  Soviet Union Heavy Transport Il-76 24
Total Transport Aircraft


Beriev A-50 Phalcon  Russia
AEW&C Phalcon 1 2 more on order to be delivered by 2011
Total number of AWACS

Air Tanker Aircraft

Il-78MKI.jpeg Ilyushin Il-78 MKI  Russia
IL-76 IL-78MKI 6
Total number of Air Tanker Aircraft


Indian air force dhruv helicopter j4042 arp.jpg HAL Dhruv  India Utility helicopter Dhruv 36
 India Attack helicopter HAL LCH -
Cheetah produced by HAL.jpg Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama  France Utility helicopter SA 315B Cheetah/Cheetal 28
Chetak(070407-N-4953E-002).jpg Aérospatiale SA 316B Alouette III  France Utility helicopter SA 316B Chetak 82
IAF Mi-8.JPEG Mil Mi-8/17  Soviet Union Transport helicopter Mi-8 102
Mi-17 52
Mi-35 Hind Akbar.jpg Mil Mi-35 Hind-E  Soviet Union Attack helicopter Mi-35 20
Mi-26T.jpg Mil Mi-26 Halo  Soviet Union Transport helicopter Mi-26 4
Total number of Helicopters

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Nishant 001.jpg DRDO Nishant  India Reconnaissance Remotely Piloted Vehicle - RPV 0?
Lakshya PTA.JPG Lakshya PTA  India Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA) 23+
Paris Air Show 2007-06-24 n25.jpg IAI Harpy  Israel Fire & Forget Radar Emitter Destroyer 90
Salon du Bourget 20090619 075.jpg IAI Heron  Israel Heron II Strategic Multi-Role UAV 70+
Heron I 4th Generation strategic reconnaissance and surveillance UAV 0?
IAI-Searcher2.jpg IAI Searcher  Israel 0?
Searcher Mk-I 3rd Generation Intelligence mini-UAV 50
Total Unmanned Air Vehicles
Total Aircraft

Future Aircraft

Aircraft Origin Year Notes Quantity

Combat aircraft

Light Combat Aircraft.jpgHAL Tejas  India 2012 20 aircraft Mk1 with F404 engine already on order/ Sqdn No 45 to receive these 20 a/c - 4 in 2011/ 8 in 2012 and balance 8 in 2013[14]. Reports suggest another 20 Mk1's are to be ordered by the Air Force. Plus, reports also suggest 8 more two-seaters ordered (Indian Navy order ???). An Upgraded Mk 2 with either F414 or Eurojet engines is to be developed. Mk 1 eventually to be inducted from 2012 onwards, total units expected to be @200 aircraft, including two seat versions for IAF and IN. Aircraft to have around 70% Indian content. Primary aims are to replace MiG-21's & MiG 27's in service. The LCA is to be a light air superiority aircraft with significant multirole capabilities, and in flight refuelling. FOC expected around 2011-12, production to continue till 2020 for a minimum of around seven squadrons in service (@ 200 aircraft ). Reports suggest that the Indian Navy has ordered 6 LCA's for Rs 900cr from HAL in Sept 2009. 220 [20 mk1 + 200 mk2]
India MRCA-6.pngMRCA  European Union
 United States
2014 India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme is to acquire 126 ( + 74 on option) Multi-Role aircraft at an estimated cost of $10.24 Billion; the program may be extended to acquire a total of 189 aircraft. Competitors for the bid include F-16 Falcon IN, JAS-39 Gripen NG, MiG-35, Dassault Rafale, F-18 E/F Super Hornet & the Eurofighter Typhoon. The acquisition will give a significant boost to the IAF and make up for the retirement of its older MiG-21's & MiG-27's .Also Lockheed has kept an option for IAF to buy F-35's. 126-200 .
FGFA  India
2015 Serious development and funding programme put in place, Reports suggest formal Indo-Russian agreement(HAL-UAC) signed on 23/12/08. First flight of the Russian original version took place on January 29, 2010. Being developed from the Russian Sukhoi T-50, it is a tandem-seat variant.[15] Indian Air Force plans for up to 10 Squadrons of the type. Reports suggest that as the Su-30MKI production tapers off in 2015-16, production of the FGFA will start by HAL in 2016 onwards 250
MediumCombatAircraft1.JPGMedium Combat Aircraft  India 2020 A 5th Generation aircraft which is under preliminary development. Project proposal accepted, IAF Joint committee began framing specifications on May 4, 2009. Expected to be a Jaguar & Mirage 2000 replacement. 250

Training aircraft

HAL HTT-40.jpgHAL HTT-40  India 2013-2014 HTT-40 will replace HAL HPT-32 Deepak. HAL has decided to rope in an international partner for the design and development of the much needed ab initio turbo trainer for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Navy. HAL has sent out a request for information (RFI) to a number of companies that have designed and manufactured basic turbo trainers, including Embraer (for their Tucano), Pilatus (PC-21), Raytheon (T-6 Texan), Finmeccanica (M-311), Grob Aircraft Company (G-120TP) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KT-1).[16] 200
IJTJM.jpgHAL HJT-36  India 2010 ? onwards The HJT-36 will replace the HJT-16 Kiran in its role of as a trainer (Stage-2) in the Indian Air Force. Final production could be 225+ aircraft, serving both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. Custom made engines AL-55I arrived in India from Russia in late December 2008 and is currently undergoing integration with PT-1 (Prototype-1); First test flight with the new Russian engine took place on 9/5/09. 225+.

Transport Aircraft

HAL Saras.jpg
NAL Saras
 India 2012 ? Initial order for 15 aircraft and 30 more to be procured. Project delayed as 2nd Prototype crashed on 6/3/09, killing all 3 Test pilots. Project delayed.[17][18] 48.
Lockheed Martin Hercules C5 - No30 Sqn, RAF Lyneham (1093438379).jpg
C-130J Super Hercules
 United States December 2010 Six ordered for Special Operations for US$1.06 billion.Talks are ongoing for 6 more.[19] [20]. 06.
C17 aircraft alt.jpg
C-17 Globemaster III
 United States  ? Planning to buy 10 C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift aircraft. The C-17 deal, expected to be worth over $2.5 billion, would be done through Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route under which inter-governmental deal is signed for arms sales. It is possible that the deal might include an option for 10 more aircraft. 10.
Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft
2018 First flight expected in 2011. Irkut has pulled out of the project after an industry realignment and has been replaced by Ilyushin. Total cost of development is 600 million US$. The envisaged requirement is for 100 aircraft for the Russian Air Force, 45+ for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and a projected demand of 60 from third countries. The IAF sees the aircraft as a replacement for its aging fleet of 60-70 An-32/ and Avro HS 748 aircraft. Planned Specs: Maximum takeoff weight: 55,000 kg, Capacity: 88 to 100 paratroopers/passengers, Payload: 18.5 tons. The deal was signed in November 2007 during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow. Rosoboronexport has now identified Ilyushin Aviation Complex as the new prime nodal agency after Irkut pulled out of the project in March 2008. The development and certification of the new aircraft is expected to be completed within six years[21] 45[22]


DRDO AWACS.JPGDRDO AEW&CS  India Brazil 2011 - 2012 3 AEW&C aircraft on order. Aircraft to have ESM/ SIGINT/ CSM ability. Locally developed by the DRDO using the Embraer ERJ-145 (3 ordered) as the carrier. Intended to act as a vital backup node to the more expensive Phalcons, for an in-depth air defence network. More orders expected but of a more capable derivative, based on a larger aircraft platform. 3 on order.

Air Tanker Aircraft

A-330-200 MRTT Australia (1).JPG
Il-78 Midas.jpg
Aerial Refueling Tanker
 European Union
 United States
2012 onwards A new requirement was issued in January 2010 for six aerial tankers, either Airbus A330 MRTT, Boeing KC-767 or Ilyushin Il-78.[23] 6 aircraft to be ordered[24]


AH-64D Apache Longbow.jpg
Ka-52 at MAKS-2009.jpgAttack Helicopter
 United States
Date will be announced Earlier up to 80 helicopters were projected to complement the existing Mi-25/ 35 attack helicopters, but after considering the development of the indigenous HAL LCH, this number has been reduced to 22. RFI issued/outright purchase. Boeing's AH-64D Apache Longbow, Mil's Mi-28, Kamov's Ka-52 Alligator are the front-runners for this order. Reports confirm on 24/3/09 that RFP cancelled and a new one would be issued in near future, thereby delaying the procurement plan by @2 years to 2012.[25] Eurocopter's Tiger has opted out of the race, because its undergoing upgrades and would not be able to participate in the field trials, which the IAF is planning to hold in mid-2010.[26] 22.
Lch.jpgHAL Light Combat Helicopter  India 2012 65 LCH to be delivered to the IAF from 2012 to 2015; Developed from the Dhruv; flight tests now by early 2010; FOC end 2011. Reports suggest whole programme delayed by about 1 year as HAL seeks to trim weight further.[27] Developed from the ALH Dhruv. 65
Light Utility helicopter (LUH)
 United States
2011 onwards Indian Armed Forces have a requirement of 384 light utility helicopter to replace its aging fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters. Earlier Ministry of Defence had scrapped a deal in which Eurocopter AS350 was chosen but later some irregularities were found in the selection process. The helicopters were sought only for India Air Force and then the Indian Army and Indian Navy has joined. Since then HAL has also joined the race with its HAL Light Observation Helicopter and the deal was splitted into 187 indigenous light utility helicopter and 197 foreign, that will be fielded in a new competition.[28] The new competition is expected to start soon and Eurocopter will field the military version Eurocopter Fennec in the trials this time. Deliveries of 133 helicopter for the Army and 64 for the Air Force should start by the end of 2010.[29] 384
AgustaWestland AW101
 United Kingdom
It is a Medium Lift Helicopter/VIP Transport Helicopter. It is one of the contenders for the Indian VIP Helicopters and Medium Lift helicopters. IAF had floated a tender in 2006 for supply of 8 VIP Helicopters (12 person) at the cost of $25 million each and 4 Medium Lift Helicopters (30 person) at the cost of $13 million each to replace Mi-8 Helicopters of VIP Squadron. IAF has concluded helicopter trials of the contenders AgustaWestland AW101 and Sikorsky S-92 helicopters in the period 14–19 January 2008. IAF found that Sikorsky S-92 failed to meet their requirements. The contract is likely to be signed in 2009. The deliveries will begin in 2010. VIP helicopters are expected to be equipped with state-of-the-art, open-architecture gear for encrypted communications by the VIPs, including the prime minister. 12.
CH-47 2.jpg
CH-53D Sea Stallion.jpgTransport Helicopters
 United States
2011-12 Indian Air Force has circulated the Request for Information for Heavy Lift Helicopters to the vendors. For this contract, the bidders could include Mil's Mi-26, Boeing's CH-47 Chinook, and Sikorsky's CH-53 Sea Stallion. Indian Air Force has the requirement of 15 such helicopters. 15.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

IAI Harop.jpgIAI Harop  Israel 2011 Indian Air Force announced that it will be inducting the 10 Harop systems purchased for US$100 Million by 2011.[30] 10
DRDO Rustom.JPGDRDO Rustom  India Rustom is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) being developed by DRDO for the three services, Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force of the Indian Armed Forces. Rustom is derived from the NAL's LCRA (Light Canard Research Aircraft) developed by a team under the leadership of late Prof.Rustom in the 1980s. Rustom will replace/supplement the Heron UAVs in service with the Indian armed forces. The first low speed taxi trials of the first prototype were carried out on September 22, 2008. NA.
Fulmar Flight.JPG(Speculated picture)DRDO Pawan  India This is a short range Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) being developed by ADE lab of DRDO and HAL. Development of the short-range, vehicle-mounted Pawan is expected to cost $33.2 million. Meant to equip Indian army divisions, the Pawan will be comparable in size and capabilities to Israel’s Eye View, Hermes 180 and Silver Arrow drones. The 120-kilogram Pawan will have day-and-night surveillance capability, an endurance of five hours and a range of 150 kilometers. ADE plans to build four Pawan prototypes under this development program, with Israel Aircraft Industries electro-optic sensors for the payload and its own stabilizer platform. The engine will be purchased from outside India. NA.
Rustom prototype profile.JPGDRDO Gagan  India This is a Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) being developed by ADE lab of DRDO and HAL. The $55.5 million Gagan UAV program will feature development of an advanced version of India's Nishant UAV. The Gagan UAV will have a range of 250 kilometers and an altitude of 6,000 meters. ADE will procure synthetic aperture radar and electro-optic sensors from Israel, and develop its own electronic countermeasure systems. ADE got the funding clearance in May, 2005, and four prototypes will be built within 42 months. NA.

Historical aircraft


  • de Havilland Vampire
  • Dassault Ouragan (Toofani) - Introduced in 1953.Initially India ordered 71 Ouragons in 1953 and an order for 33 second hand ouragons was placed in 1957 bringing the total to 104. Withdrawn from front line service in 1965, although it continued in use for some years as a Target Tug.[31] [32]
  • Dassault Mystère IV - A total of 104 of these were bought by India with deliveries starting in 1957 and the aircraft was phased out in 1973.
  • Hawker Hunter
  • Folland Gnat - built by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) under licence from Folland in the UK
  • HAL Ajeet - Variant of the Folland Gnat developed and produced by HAL.Total 89 were built including 10 upgraded Gnats .Introduced in 1977 and retired in 1991.
  • Mig-23MF

Ground attack / Bombers


  • English Electric Canberra-Total of 150 introduced starting in the April of 1957.Retired 11th May 2007.[38]
  • MiG-25-Took delivery of six MiG-25RBK and two MiG-25RU in 1981. They were operated by no.102 Squdron 'Trisonics' based at Bakshi-ka-talab AB in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. One MiG-RBK crashed on August 3, 1994.[39] Retired from service in July 2006. The Trishul air-base in Bareilly had Foxbats capable of flying up to 80,000 feet


Transport aircraft


General purpose

See also



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ India may test futuristic jets by 2015
  16. ^
  17. ^ Lighter version of Saras aircraft to fly out next year
  18. ^ Third prototype of NAL's Saras to fly out next year
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Lockheed Martin at Aero India 2009 February 11-15, 2009". Lockheed Martin Corporation. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ India to Buy 22 Attack Helos for $550M
  26. ^
  27. ^ Paris Air Show: First flight of HAL`s light combat helicopter in 2008news
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Jackson 1988, pp. 76–77.
  32. ^ name="Jackson 78"
  33. ^
  34. ^ Donald 1997, p.523.
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ Pradhan & Chavan 2007, p. xiv
  40. ^ Swansong of the Iskaras
  41. ^ The Westland Wapiti in Indian Air Force
  42. ^ Westland Lysander in Indian Air Force Service


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