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All You Need To Know About Indian Air Force Fighter Aircraft

India is a subcontinent that is just not surrounded by ocean water, instead of with countries having certain political and geographical interests. India’s position in South Asia is very crucial...

India is a subcontinent that is just not surrounded by ocean water, instead of with countries having certain political and geographical interests. India’s position in South Asia is very crucial as a state dealing with trade and defence. It faces two front situations where constant threats are posed by the surrounding countries. 

Being the country with the second-highest population, India spends around 2.9% of its fiscal budget over strengthening its defence system. Indian defence system includes powerful missiles, fighter aircraft, jets, drone systems, nuclear weapons and brave heart soldiers too. 

Here in this article, we will look at the fighter aircraft which are part of the Indian Defence system, especially the Indian Air Force. These aircraft have played an important role in many war situations. As a game-changer, these aircraft have helped India in straightening its position in every war. Let’s have a look at these amazing Indian Air Force fighter aircraft. 

  1. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21
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The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is an interceptor aircraft and a supersonic fighter jet. It was designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. It is also known by certain nicknames such as balalaika because it has a platform that resembles the stringed musical instrument of the same name, Otowek Polish for “pencil” and due to the shape of its fuselage and “Én Bạc”, meaning “silver swallow”, in Vietnamese. The MiG-21 was the first Soviet aircraft to have fighter and interceptor characteristics in a single aircraft. This fighter aircraft has been used by Indian Air Force in the 1970’s Indo – Pak War marking a mushrooming India-Soviet Union military partnership. Later, it was used in the Kargil war as well. 

  1. SEPECAT Jaguar
Image 2 SEPECAT Jaguar Ground Attack Aircraft

An Anglo-French jet attack aircraft, SEPECAT Jaguar, was designed and started in the 1960s as a lightweight jet trainer with a light ground attack capability. It was first commissioned by the British Royal Air Force and the French Air Force for the nuclear strike role. Later on, many changes were done and extra features were added such as supersonic performance, reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike roles. A joint venture SEPECAT (Société Européenne de Production de l’avion Ecole de Combat et d’Appui Tactique). 

SEPECAT Jaguar has been operated in many countries such as India, Oman, Pakistan, Ecuador, Bosnia, Chad etc. the Indian jaguar was used in Kargil War, and its role was defined as “deep penetrating strike aircraft” by the IAF. 

  1. HAL Tejas
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The HAL Tejas is an Indian multi-role combat aircraft that is lightweight and swift. It is designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with the Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

File:LCA-Tejas Production Partners.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Tejas is an indigenous fighter aircraft and the above picture shows the production partners of HAL Tejas.

Tejas is a part of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which was started in the 1980s. In 2003, the lightweight LAC was named as Tejas. it is the smallest and lightweight in the groupings of supersonic fighter aircraft developed by HAL. The first Tejas squadron became operational in 2016 based at Sulur Air Force Station in Coimbatore. it is No. 45 Squadron IAF Flying Daggers which was the first to have their MiG-21s replaced with the Tejas. Other countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are also interested in having Tejas in their defence system. 

  1. Dassault Mirage 2000
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The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a French multirole, single-engine, fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It was designed as a lightweight fighter aircraft to replace the Mirage III. it was commissioned in the French air force. There are other improved variants of Dassault Mirage 2000 such as Mirage 2000 N and 2000D strike variants. It is primarily used by the Indian Air Force, the United Arab Emirates Air Force, The Republic of China Air Force and The French Air and Space Force (AAE). 

In 1999, when the Kargil war broke out. India wanted advancement in the fighter aircraft town the war. At that time, Mirage helped Indian Air Force to tackle the enemies at high altitudes. At the same time, mirage did remarkably well in the war. During Operation Safed Sagar from May to July 1999, the two Mirage squadrons flew a total of 514 sorties, with only three dropouts. In the 2001–02 India–Pakistan stand-off, Pakistani bunkers were destroyed by the IAF Mirage 2000s with precision-guided bombs. So, it has played a very crucial part in Indian Defence system. 

  1. Mikoyan MiG-29

The Mikoyan MiG-29 also known as Fulcrum is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. The Mikoyan design bureau had designed it as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s. The MiG-29, along with the Sukhoi Su-27, was developed to counter U.S. fighter aircraft such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. In 1982, the Mikoyan MiG-29 entered into the Soviet Service. 

Mikoyan MiG-29 is considered multirole fighter aircraft, capable of performing various operations, and are commonly equipped to use a range of air-to-surface armaments and precision munitions. There have been many changes in Mig- 29, the recent upgraded model of Mig- 29 is the Mikoyan MiG-35. Its primary users are The Russian Aerospace Forces, Indian Air Force, Uzbekistan Air and Air Defence Forces and Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force. 

India was the first buyer of the Mig- 29in the international defence market. Indian MiG-29s were heavily deployed by the Indian Air Force during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir to provide fighter escort for Mirage 2000s striking targets with laser-guided bombs. 

  1. Sukhoi Su-30MKI
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The Sukhoi Su-30MKI, also known as Flanker-H) is a twin jet multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The first Su-30MKI variant was developed by Russia and came into Indian Air Force in 2002. Whereas, the first assembled Su- 30MKI entered into IAF in 2004. As of January 2020, India has 260 Su-30MKIs in inventory, which is a good sign of the strong Indian defence system. 

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI has all the features that the Indian Air Force has required to combat in wars. This has strengthened India’s position as Big Brother in South Asia region. Indian Air Force with other country’s forces has often engaged in bilateral and multilateral exercises with Sukhoi Su-30MKI.

  1. Dassault Rafale

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. In military terms, it means “gust of wind”, and “burst of fire”. This fighter aircraft plays a huge role in powering India’s position in the defence system. The Dassault Rafale is equipped with a huge range of weapons. It is supposed to perform various kinds of activities such as air supremacy, aerial reconnaissance, interdiction, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. Its primary user states are France, India and Qatar. This high-class fighter aircraft was introduced on 18 May 2001. There are talks going on to replace the old age Mig- 21 from Dassault Rafale to tackle the various fighters of the neighbouring countries.


India is the second is the largest county and spend almost 2.9%of its GDP on strengthening the defence system. Fighter aircraft play a huge role in the defence system. And in the case of India, the fighter aircraft has been the game-changer since the Kargil War. Indian defence system has some of the best fighter aircraft which are highly compatible with any kind of warfare situation, laced with modern technologies and equipment. In the above paragraphs, we have discussed Rafale, Mirage, Mig fighter aircraft and more. 

Hope this article has made your perception clear about the booming Indian defence system and fighter aircraft of India. 

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