New Delhi: With just 32 squadrons remaining out of the actual requirement of 42, the Indian Air Force may be ill prepared to give an effect resonse in the event of an enemy assualt, said a report on Friday.
The seriousness of the situation is highlighted by the fact that Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar has escalated the matter to PM Narendra Modi, it said.
Parrikar has reportedly made a detailed presentation to PM Modi recently on the operational difficulties that the IAF is facing.
Citing top IAF commanders, the NDTV reported that out of the total requirement of 42 fighter jet squadrons, the Indian Air Force only has 32.
The air force needs at least 42 squadrons to protect its borders with Pakistan and China. And by 2019 -2020, it would lose another 14 squadrons of the vintage MiG 21s and MiG 27s, the report said.
A squadron comprises 16 to 18 fighter jets.
The government's plan to induct 36 French-made Rafale fighters and with indigenously made Tejas fighters too hasn't come through yet and in this scenerio the air force's ability to counter enemy threat may be compromised.
Although India has showcased the Tejas fighter jets for the first time at the Baharin air show this year they are yet get a operational clearance approval.
"Its performance at Baharin was however encouraging and we hope the FOC comes through soon," a senior officer said, adding, the "IAF is ready to induct as many Tejas fighters as possible to plug the gaps," the NDTV quoted a top IAF official as saying.