Daily GFX | How powerful exactly is the Indian Air Force?
Pakistan has only 1,281 active fleet of aircrafts—70.5 per cent less than that of India. Shouldn’t pick a war, should they?
Twelve days after the Pulwama terror attack, 12 Indian Air Force jets entered Pakistani airspace and bombed the terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed. This 19-minute long operation is said to be India’s first cross-border air strike in nearly five decades.
And this begs the question: how powerful exactly is the Indian Air Force?
India has a giant fleet of over 2,200 aircrafts. And part of what makes India a formidable airborne combatant is that it operates such a wide variety of aircraft.
There’s the celebrated MiG-21 Fishbed, the ultra-modern Sukhoi Su-30MKI Flanker, the Mirage-2000 that won India Kargil and the indigenously designed Tejas. The force totals over 800 fighters, and has an additional 36 Rafale, 21 MiG-29, and 18 Su-30MKI on order.
But effective air forces need more than flashy fighters. They need transport aircraft that can provide strategic and tactical airlift. From the relatively small An-32s to the powerful C-17 Globemasters, India has a total of 239 transport aircrafts, apart from the seven Il-78 Midas aerial refuelling planes.
Staffing such a force requires a talented crew, and you can't have that without trainers. From the British-designed Hawk 132s to India's own HJT-16 Kiran, India has more than 350 training aircrafts, and more than 800 combat helicopters.