New Delhi: India on Monday said it was looking to induct around 200-250 fight generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), which are being co-developed with Russia.
"We are looking for around 200-250 aircraft," Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said at a press conference for the 78th anniversary of the IAF to be celebrated on the
Air Force Day on October 8.
He said the aircraft weighing over 30 tonnes are expected to start joining the force by 2017. Commenting on the capabilities of the most advanced fighter aircraft, Naik said, "It would be a swing-role fighter with highly advanced avionics, giving 360 degree situational awareness, stealth to increase survivability and smart weapons."
He added that the aircraft would be capable of covering long ranges without air to air refuelling and will have the super-cruise features along with the highly advanced mission
Replying to a query, Naik said in the near future, the IAF fighter fleet would comprise mainly four types of aircraft including the FGFA, Sukhoi-30MKIs, the yet to be procured
M-MRCA and the under-development Light Combat Aircraft.
At present, the IAF has seven different types of aircraft in its fighter fleet including the MiGs 21, 23, 27 and 29, Jaguars, Mirage-2000 and the Su-30 MKI. Asked if the IAF would want to further reduce the variety of fighters with it, Naik said, "the ideal situation would be that I only have one type of aircraft but the world is not ideal".
To a query on whether the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) was looking to procure more assets, the IAF Chief said, "definitely we will need approval for more assets because the present strength is for meeting our present tasks and for additional tasks, we will require more".
Asked if the selection of the American GE-414 engine for the LCA Mk II `Tejas` fighter would help two of the aircraft flying with the same engine in the multi-role combat aircraft deal, Naik said, "I don`t think so, they are not connected at all".