19 Warbirds Of The Indian Air Force That Keep The Skies SafeThe Indian Air Force is one of the largest air forces in the world. It has a mix of potent planes which includes heavy multirole fighters that keep the enemy fighters at bay, deep penetration strike aircraft for taking out ground targets deep into enemy territory, and airlifters for transporting troops and equipment to the most inhospitable areas. The Indian Air Force is keeping the skies safe and here are the warbirds that make this possible.
Fighters1. Sukhoi 30 Mki
India's premier multi-role air superiority fighter, it can fly at twice the speed of sound and has a range of more than 3,000 km which can be extended with in-flight refueling.
2. Mig-21 BIS
India's first supersonic fighter, the Mig-21's iconic tailed delta wing configuration makes it the most easily recognisable planes in the world. It is scheduled for retirement in the coming years.
This air superiority fighter was responsible for keeping the Pakistani F-16 at bay during the Kargil War. Currently being upgraded to the UPG standard.
4. Mirage 2000
Capable of carrying nuclear weapons, it was the precision bombing during the Kargil War by the Mirage 2000 that was responsible for flushing out the bad guys. The fleet is being upgraded to I/TI standard and will remain in service till 2040.
One of the few swing-wing fighters in service across the world, the Mig-27 was an upgrade to the Mig-23. It serves the role of a ground attack aircraft in the Indian Air Force.
6. SEPECAT Jaguar
The twin-engined Jaguar is unique in the way it mounts its air-to-air missile over the wings. This frees up space for bombs on the under wing pylons. The Indian Air Force also uses it for naval strike role.
7. HAL Tejas
Inducted into the Indian Air Force, the Tejas is expected to receive the Final Operation Clearance (FOC) this year. This means that IAF pilots will soon be able to fly it to its limits. An improved Mk 2 version is also in the works.
Transport Aircraft8. Boeing C-17 Globemaster
Significantly boosting the Indian Air Force's heavy lift capabilities, the C-17 has been at the forefront of the recent rescue missions in the Middle East and Nepal. With a total order of 10 planes, India will become the largest operator of the plane outside of the US.
9. Lockheed Martin C 130J Super Hercules
Capable of landing on unprepared landing strips, the C-130 is central to India's war fighting capabilities against China. The IAF landed one at Daulat Beg Oldie, one of the highest airstrips in the world.
10. Ilyushin IL-76
Before the Globemaster, the IL-76 was India's heavy lifter of choice. It still is in service and supplements the IAF whenever there's need for long distance transportation.
11. Avro HS 748
India was the only other country to have produced this long serving tactical transport. The type will soon be replaced by the Airbus C295.
12. Antonov An-32
Derived from the civilian An-26, the launch customer of the An-32 was the Indian Air Force. The high mounted wing and engines allow this tactical transport to land on unprepared landing grounds.
13. Dornier Do 228
The Short Take Off and Landing Dornier is IAF's short distance utility transporter. A new order for 15 more planes was placed by the IAF this year and DRDO is using it as a Flying Test Bed for research work.
Special Mission Aircraft14. Ilyushin IL-78
Based on the Il-76, the Il-78 aerial refueling aircraft plays an important role in extending the operational range of aircraft like the Su-30, Mig-29 and Mirage 2000. The Il-78 can refuel up to three planes at a time.
15. Beriev A-50 Phalcon
Another derivative of the Il-76, the A-50 came about as a result of a tripartite agreement between India, Israel and Russia. The 'eye in the sky' can look deep into enemy territory and directs fighters towards enemy planes.
16. EMB-145 AWECS
India's second line of Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems aircraft, the Embraer 145 is going to induct three of these. Friendly countries have expressed interest in the aircraft and it may soon be exported.
Trainers17. BAE Hawk
Used for providing the final stage training to IAF pilots, the Hawk can also be used in combat role. The Hawk will also be used to form IAF's display team, the Surya Kirans, this year.
18. HAL HJT-16 Kiran
India's homegrown intermediate jet trainer has been used for training IAF pilots. But it is more famous for giving its name to the Surya Kiran display team. The Kiran is likely to be replaced by the HJT-36 which is under development.
19. Pliatus PC-7
IAF's rookie pilots are trained on the Pliatus, which features a tandem cockpit with the trainer sitting in the back monitoring the pupil sitting in the front. IAF has recently placed an order for 38 more of this basic trainer.
By Abhisek Saxena and Ajai Shukla - India times.com