The Indian Air Force has taken a decision to induct 324 Tejas fighter jets with an underlying objective to strengthen the depleting squadron strength.
The IAF decision comes in the wake of reports that suggest the Indian Air Force requires at least 42 fighter squadrons to deal with the threats posed by China and Pakistan. At present, there are only 31 fighter squadrons with 18 jets in each, which came as a serious concern for IAF.
Reportedly, the force is ready to set up 18 Tejas squadrons if the agencies involved in its development, including the DRDO, Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, will deliver upgraded Mark-II fighter jets.
For over three decades, the Indian Air Force (IAF) maintained distance from Tejas fighter jet, citing the aircraft is not combat-ready. The IAF remained unhappy with the quality and capability of Tejas fighter jet even after the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was given an approval. In an unprecedented move, the IAF has declared that it will induct 324 indigenously-built Tejas fighter jets.
The IAF has agreed to buy 123 Tejas fighters which procurement cost would come to around Rs 75,000 crore from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
However, the remaining 201 Tejas Mark-II jets should be entirely new fighters. According to a report in Times of India, the IAF has demanded the jets with better avionics, radars, enhanced weapons carrying capacity and powerful engines.