Observing the incessant delays over the procurement of fighter jets, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has said that the government should not delay the procurement of additional fighter jets.
The procurement of additional fighter jets should not be delayed any further said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in its report tabled in the House.
“The government should consider buying state-of-the-art fifth-generation fighter aircraft over the counter without losing time to keep the force in a comfortable position,” the committee said.
The Committee also asked the government to make a final decision on having a third aircraft carrier, “In no uncertain words, [we] recommend that the Ministry of Defence may take a final decision, chalk out a trajectory and start the planning process for the third aircraft carrier which would eventually enhance India’s maritime capabilities,” the parliamentary panel said in its report on March 21.
The committee also said it found “considerable delay” in the supply of 40 LCA Tejas jets from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a public sector defence undertaking.
As reported earlier by Financial Express, the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s mega $20 billion Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) programme is nowhere in sight. Against the fast-depleting squadron of the IAF, the MRFA programme which is about acquiring 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft, is one such programme that the Indian Armed Forces and the Government are treating as important.
Besides, there are multiple projects underway in India’s aerospace ecosystem. The HAL along with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is working together to build Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). Tejas MK2 is another ambitious project which is evolving out of HAL’s Tejas fighter aircraft design. Tejas MK2 is building upon Mark 1A.
While so many programmes are about taking a leap in India’s manufacturing technology, the focus for IAF remains on the need for next-generation tech-ready combat jets for potential future conflicts. Simply put, the IAF has to fulfil its mandate if such situations arise. The IAF’s Perspective Plan looks at it in terms of its combat asset which is broadly defined as 42 squadrons. At present, IAF has 30 squadrons. Further, the IAF is phasing out its remaining four MiG-21 squadrons by 2025, bringing the squadron strength to its lowest.