List Of Indian Fighter Aircrafts | Attack And Transport Aircrafts Of IAF

access_time 2019-04-30T11:31:44.474Z face Future Cadets Current Affairs

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces. Its complement of personnel and aircraft assets ranks fourth amongst the air forces of the world. Its primary mission is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during the armed conflict. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal. After India gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, the name Royal Indian Air Force was kept and served in the name of Dominion of India. With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed after only three years.

Since 1950 the IAF has been involved in four wars with neighbouring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai. The IAF's mission expands beyond engagement with hostile forces, with the IAF participating in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Indian Air Force was recently in news for successfully conducting air strikes in Balakot, Pakistan. Mission was to destroy terror camps that were giving training and developing suicide bombers. IAF ranks amongst the top four air forces in the world.

Mirage 2000: Balakot Air Strike

Following heightened tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the 2019 Pulwama attack allegedly carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammed. The attack that killed forty-six servicemen of the Central Reserve Police Force. A group of twelve Mirage 2000 fighter planes from the Indian Air Force carried out air strikes on JeM bases in Chakothi and Muzaffarabad in the Pakistan-Administered region of Gilgit Baltistan.

Furthermore, the Mirage 2000s crossed into Pakistan to strike a JeM training camp in Balakot, a town in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. On 27 February 2019, in retaliation for the IAF bombing of a terrorist hideout in Balakot, a group of PAF F-16 & JF-17 fighters entered Indian territory with an intention of attacking certain ground assets. However, they were intercepted by a group of IAF fighters consisting of Su-30MKI and MiG-21 jets. An ensuing dogfight began. According to India, one PAF F-16 was shot down by an IAF MIG-21, which Pakistan denied.

About Indian Military Aircrafts

The Indian Air Force has aircraft and equipment of Russian (erstwhile the Soviet Union), British, French, Israeli, US and Indian origins with Russian aircraft dominating its inventory. HAL produces some of the Russian and British aircraft in India under license. The exact number of aircraft in service with the Indian Air Force cannot be determined with precision from open sources. Various reliable sources provided notably divergent estimates for a variety of high-visibility aircraft.

Flight International estimates there to be around 1,721 aircraft in service with the IAF. While the International Institute for Strategic Studies provides a similar estimate of 1,724 aircraft. Both sources agree there are approximately 900 combat capable (fighter, attack, etc.) aircraft in the IAF.

List Of Some Major Active Indian Military Fighter Aircrafts

Fighter Or Attack Aircrafts

Sukhoi SU-30 MKI

Sukhoi SU-30 MKI

Twin seater twin engine multirole fighter of Russian origin which carries One X 30mm GSH gun along with 8000 kg external armament. It is capable of carrying a variety of medium-range guided air to air missiles with active or semi-active radar or Infrared homing close range missiles. It has a max speed of 2500 km/hr (Mach 2.35).

The IAF's primary air superiority fighter with the additional capability to conduct air-ground (strike) missions is Sukhoi Su-30MKI. The IAF have placed an order for a total of 272 Su-30MKIs of which 242 are in service.

Mirage 2000

mirage 2000

A single seater air defence and multi-role fighter of French origin powered by a single engine can attain a max speed of 2495 km/hr(Mach 2.3). It carries two 30 mm integral cannons and two mantras super 530D medium-range and two R-550 magic II close combat missiles on external stations.

Mirage 2000 is also known as Vajra in Indian service. It is the primary multirole fighter, the IAF currently operates 49 Mirage 2000Hs and 8 Mirage 2000 TH. All of which are currently being upgraded to the Mirage 2000-5 MK2 standard with Indian specific modifications. While 2 Mirage 2000-5 MK2 are in service as of March 2015. The IAF's Mirage 2000 are scheduled to be phased out by 2030.



Twin engine, single seater air superiority fighter aircraft of Russian origin capable of attaining max. speed of 2445 km per hour (Mach-2.3). It has a combat ceiling of 17 km. It carries a 30 mm cannon along with four R-60 close combat and two R-27 R medium range radar guided missiles.

The Mikoyan MiG-29 known as Baaz is a dedicated air superiority fighter and constitutes the second line of defence after the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. 69 MiG-29s are in service, all of which have been recently upgraded to the MiG-29UPG standard.



Single engine, single seater tactical strike fighter aircraft of Russian origin having a max. speed of 1700 km/hr (Mach 1.6). It carries one 23 mm six-barrel rotary integral cannon and can carry up to 4000 kg of other armaments externally.

The Mikoyan MiG-27 known as Bahadur serves as the IAF's primary ground attack force. The IAF currently operates over 85 MiG-27s. The type will be phased out soon to account for increasing serviceability concerns and 40 of them have been upgraded for improved strike missions, including laser designation and with self-protection jamming

MiG-21 Bison

MiG-21 Bison

Single engine, single seater multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft of Russian origin which forms the backbone of the IAF. It has a max speed of 2230 km/hr (Mach 2.1) and carries one 23mm twin-barrel cannon with four R-60 close combat missiles.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 serves as an Interceptor aircraft in the IAF. The IAF has phased out most of its MiG-21s and plans to keep only 125 that have been upgraded to MiG-21 Bison standard. The phase-out date for these aircraft has been postponed several times. Initially set for 2014-2017, it was later postponed to 2019. Currently, phase-out is scheduled for 2021-2022.



A twin-engine, single seater deep penetration strike aircraft of Anglo-French origin which has a max. speed of 1350 km /hr (Mach 1.3). It has two 30mm guns and can carry two R-350 Magic CCMs (overwing) along with 4750 kg of external stores (bombs/fuel).

The SEPECAT Jaguar known as Shamsher serves as the IAF's primary ground attack force. The IAF currently operates 139 Jaguars. The first batch of DARIN-1 Jaguars is now going through a DARIN-3 upgrade being equipped with EL/M-2052 AESA radars, and an improved jamming suite plus new avionics. These aircraft are scheduled to be phased out by 2030.

Transport Aircrafts



The IAF C-130Js are used by special forces for combined Army-Air Force operations. India purchased six C-130Js; however one crashed at Gwalior on 28 March 2014 while on a training mission, killing all 5 on board and destroying the aircraft.

The aircraft is capable of performing a para drop, heavy drop, casualty evacuation and can also operate from short and semi-prepared surfaces. C-130J is the heaviest aircraft to land at DBO in Aug 2013.



The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. It was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17 carries forward the name of two previous piston-engined military cargo aircraft, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II.

The C-17 commonly performs tactical and strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include medical evacuation and airdrop duties. The aircraft is capable of carrying a payload of 40-70 tons up to a distance of 4200-9000 km in a single hop.


IL- 76

For strategic airlift operations, the IAF uses the Ilyushin Il-76, known as Gajraj (Hindi for King Elephant) in Indian service. A four-engine heavy duty/long haul military transport aircraft of Russian origin with a max speed of 850 km/hr. It has a twin 23 mm cannon in tail turret and capacity to carry 225 paratroopers or 40 tonnes freight, wheeled or tracked armoured vehicles.



The Antonov An-32, known in Indian service as the Sutlej (named after Sutlej River), serves as a medium transport aircraft in the IAF. The aircraft is also used in bombing roles and para-dropping operations. The IAF currently operates 105 An-32s, all of which are being upgraded.

Twin engine turboprop, medium tactical transport aircraft of Russian origin with a crew of five and capacity to carry 39 paratroopers or max load of 6.7 tonnes. It has a max cruise speed of 530 km/hr.



The main role of employment of this executive Jet Aircraft is to convey VVIPs/VIPs to destinations within India and abroad. Air HQ Communication Squadron operates this aircraft and it has maintained a flawless incident/accident-free track record till date.



Twin engine turboprop, military transport and freighter of British origin having a capacity of 48 paratroopers or 6 tonnes freight and max cruise speed of 452 km/hr.



The Dornier Do 228 serves as light transport aircraft in the IAF. Twin engine turboprop, logistic air support staff transport aircraft of German origin capable of carrying 19 passengers or 2057 kg freight. It has a max speed of 428 km/hr.

Boeing 737-200

boeing 737-200

Twin engine turbofan, VIP passenger aircraft of American origin with a total seating capacity of up to 60 passengers. It has a max cruise speed of 943 km/hr.

Helicopter Aircrafts


MI- 25/MI-35

Twin engine turboshaft, assault and anti-armour helicopter capable of carrying 8 men assault squad with four barrel 12.7 mm rotary gun in nose barbette and up to 1500 Kg of external ordnance including Scorpion anti-tank missiles. It has a max cruise speed of 310 km/hr.



Twin engine turboshaft, military heavy lift helicopter of Russian origin with carrying capacity of 70 combat-equipped troops or 20,000 kg payload. It has a max speed of 295 km/hr.



The Mi-17 V5 is a potent helicopter platform, equipped with modern avionics and glass cockpit instrumentation. They are equipped with state-of-art navigational equipment, avionics, weather radar and are NVG-compatible.



Single engine turboshaft, light utility French helicopter with a capacity of 6 passengers or 500 kg load. It has a max speed of 220 km/hr.



Single engine turboshaft, FAC/casevac helicopter of French origin having the capacity to carry 3 passengers or 100 kg external sling loads. It has a max cruise speed of 121 km/hr and can climb to 1 km in 4 minutes.

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