According to Indian Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik, to address the shortage of fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force, the government has adopted a two-pronged strategy of midlife up-gradation of existing jets and induction of new ones in the fleet.
In a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Naik said the IAF has already contracted for 40 Light Combat Aircraft Mk1 with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of which 16 aircraft have been delivered.
“To overcome the shortage of fighter aircraft in the IAF, a two-pronged approach has been adopted. That is, midlife up-gradation of legacy aircraft to retain their operational relevance and induction of new aircraft,” Naik said.
The IAF is in the process of acquiring an additional 83 LCA Mk1A aircraft for which contract negotiations are in progress.
Delivery of LCA Mk1A aircraft would commence three years from the date of signing of the contract, Naik said.
Request For Proposal for 83 LCA Mk1A was issued to HAL in December 2017.
A Request For Information for procurement of 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) was issued in April 2018, the minister added.
The MiG-27 fleet was decommissioned on December 31, 2019, due to obsolescence and completion of Total Technical Life, he added.