The plans for upgrade on technology and equipment can be seen under the following fields:
1. Fighter aircraft:
- IAF plans to phase out the aged fleet of MiG 21s. All variants will be phased out by 2014, except the Bison variant, which will see last of service in 2019.
- IAF is upgrading the its fleet of Dassault Mirage 2000 to the the Mirage 2000-5 Mk-2 variants.
- The pride of the IAF, 40 Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs will be upgraded for carrying and delivering the BrahMos-II nuclear capable missiles.
- LCA(Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas, manufactured by HAL, would hopefully be inducted in IAF by2014. It has currently been granted operational clearance. LCA is a single seater multi-role aircraft. It’s operational capabilities were displayed in the IAF firepower display, Iron Fist-2013.
- India and Russia are, currently, working on a “50-50 partnership, involving sharing of technology and intellectual property” to jointly develop the Sukhoi-HAL FGFA( Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft). This aircraft would be a more advanced version of the PAK T-50 stealth fighter recently developed by Russia.
- India is also developing an indigenous 5th Generation fighter aircraft AMCA( Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft), whose first flight deadline has been set as 2015 and would be inducted by 2020.
2. Transport Aircraft
- The current heavy lift aircraft of the IAF, Ilyushin Il-76, is nearing the end of service. It would be replaced by Boeing C-17 Globemaster aircraft, the first of which was delivered in September 2013.
- In addition, IAF has inducted 6 C-130J Super Hercules. This aircraft has proven its worth by landing at the Advanced Landing Ground at Daulat Beg Oldi sector.
- DRDO has developed AEW&CS( Airborne Early Warning and Control System) fitted on Embraer ERJ 145 platform. It will enhance surveilance and early detection capabilities if the IAF.
- The Kiran Mk II AJTs( Advanced Jet Trainers) were phased out by the IAF and were replaced by the BAE Hawks to fit into the AJT role. (The Surya Kiran aerobatics team of the IAF was also disbanded and on a personal note, I think Hawks should replace the Kirans to form an aerobatics team)
- HAL Sitara are ordered to act as IJTs( intermediate Jet Trainer Aircraft)
- Swiss made Pilatus PC-7 aircraft have been chosen to fill up the role of BJT( Basic Jet Trainer) after the fleet of HAL Deepak was grounded after a crash.
- The prime attack helicopter helicopter of IAF, Mil Mi-35 will be replaced by Boeing AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter.
- The LCH( Light Combat Helicopter) developed by HAL would be inducted hopefully by early 2014.
- Another attach helicopter, HAL Rudra is in production phase and will see service soon.
- VIP Transport helicopters, Augusta Westland AW 101 were supposed to be purchased but unfortunately this plan has been stalled indefinitely.
6. Unmanned Aerial Combat and Reconnaissance Vehicles
- DRDO is developing a stealth combat unmanned drone AURA. This project is secret, though the basic design of the drone is known to be somewhat similar to Northrop Grumann B-2 Spirit. Its first flight date is in 2015.
- Air launched version of BrahMos has been developed and Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs will serve as launching platform.
- Nuclear capable cruise missiles, Nirbhay, with a range of 1000 km, effective low altitude flight features to evade enemy radar systems and the ability to loiter en route the target, is in developmental phase by the DRDO.