A senior official of India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Monday said the Indian Air Force (IAF) would be getting new fighter jets soon.
Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said the government was looking at purchasing nearly 200 more fighter aircraft in the near future.
The defence secretary said expressions of interest had been floated for 110 more aircraft in addition to the 83 Tejas Mark 1 A Light Combat Aircraft that were under orders from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The Economic Times quoted the senior MoD official as saying “the LCA contract will definitely be signed this year.’’
The Secretary added that the aircraft design had been finalised and that the defence ministry expected HAL to double production of the LCA Mark 1 A aircraft from eight to 16 annually.
The government is also ready to consider acquiring more aircraft through outsourcing, he said.
Currently, the IAF deploys Sukhoi 30 MKIs, Mirage 2000s, Mig 29s, Mig 21 Bisons and Jaguars in its fighter aircraft inventory.
In December 2019, the IAF de-commissioned seven swing-wing MiG-27 fighters which played an important role during the 1999 Kargil War with Pakistan.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is facing a shortage of fighter squadrons amid potential aerial threats from Pakistan and China.
The IAF has gradually been phasing out its MiG-21, MiG-23, and MiG-27 fighter aircraft and replacing them with newer aircraft.