The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reportedly informed the Union government that it is committed to purchasing around 300 indigenously developed fighter aircraft and basic trainers from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
A senior defence official told Hindustan Times that the deal that would cost the government several billion dollars comes with a rider that the designing, manufacturing and delivery of the machines will have to be completed within a prescribed deadline from the time the deal is inked.
The official asserted that the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and the HAL must get their act together if the deal has to take off smoothly. ADA overseas India’s LCA (light combat aircraft) programme.
The IAF has conveyed to the government that it will buy another 10 Squadrons of Tejas Mark-II and 36 Advance Medium Combat (AMCA) fighters. The IAF has also assured the government that it will also buy newly developed trainer aircraft HTTP-40. The IAF has already bought 40 fighters of the initial version of Tejas (Mark-I).
Immediately after taking over as IAF chief, Air Marshal RK Singh Bhadauria had made it clear that the Indian Air Force will focus on buying indigenous fighter jets. The IAF’s commitment to buy indigenous aircraft and trainers is line with the statement made by its new chief.
The IAF has a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons for handling a two-front war situation. However, it has only 30 squadrons of fighter jets, as of now.