Since 1933, they have been watching over us from above. And every time they take off, they keep to their motto: Touching the Sky with Glory. Today’s Indian Air Force Day. We take a look at some of the most potent flying machines the IAF has.
The Mil Mi-24 is a large attack helicopter/gunship which is also used for troop transport (eight heavily armed troops with their gear). The heavily armoured copter has been in service since 1972 and is used by at least 30 countries. The export versions, Mi-25 and Mi-35, are in service with the IAF.
Dassault Mirage 2000 – Primary Multirole Fighter
Known as Vajra (Sanskrit for Thunderbolt) in Indian service, it is the IAF’s primary multirole fighter. The IAF currently operates 51 Mirage 2000Hs which are currently being upgraded to the Mirage 2000-5 MK2 standard. India assigned the nuclear strike role to its Mirage 2000 squadrons in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 1985. In 1999 when the Kargil conflict broke out, the Mirage 2000 performed remarkably well in the Himalayas.
This is an air superiority fighter jointly developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). A variant of the Sukhoi Su-30, it is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter. The IAF has 137 Su-30MKIs in service as of December 2011; it plans to have a fleet of 272 MKIs. This is considered to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet from 2020 and beyond.
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is powered by four Rolls Royce turboprop engines and can be used to transport troops or supplies. Its ability to use short (1,200 m) regular and ad-hoc runways with equal ease and all-weather capabilities make it a favourite for strategic airlifts. It can carry 92 heavily armed troops and their equipment.
Mikoyan MiG-29 – Air Superiority Fighter
The Mikoyan MiG-29 is a fourth-generation jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union for an air superiority role. Developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau, it entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as in many other nations. India was the first international customer of the MiG-29, which saw extensive action during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir to provide fighter escort for Mirage 2000s, which were attacking targets with laser-guided bombs.
IAF’s Miraj planes present an air show during the 80th Air Force Day function.
IAF’s vintage 1930s Tiger Moth aircraft flying-past during the 80th Air Force Day function at Air Force Station in Hindon.
IAF paratroopers performing during the function.
IAF helicopters present an air show during the celebrations.