The Indian Air force will soon be armed with 06 Dassault Rafale multirole fighters and may place them strategically to demonstrate power projection on China’s PLAAF. But as most big airforce’s of the world are entering into a new era of stealth combat technology and satellite warfare, the IAF is slowly moving ahead by acquiring imported aircrafts.
The IAF is facing a strong and colossal enemy, the PLAAF which has already claimed to induct aircraft with stealth technology ( though there is good amount of doubt regarding the claims of its “ indigenous” technology ). It is a direct threat to the IAF as the Chinese have developed not one but two types of stealth aircrafts.
The Chengdu J-20 of the PLAAF is stated to be designed as an air superiority fighter with precision strike capability. It is something the PLAAF has demonstrated as the future of its combat power before the world since early 2011. This aircraft is already operational since 2017, as claimed by China.
Soon, they also revealed to the world, an aircraft with the intention to be made commercially available for stealth technology seeking countries and countries involved in regular conflicts (read Pakistan). The Shenyang J-31 is described as an export-oriented low-end latest generation warplane. Initial operational capability of the aircraft was expected in 2020.
Now, in the midst of such a challenging the IAF is left with two options HAL Tejas MK2 / Medium Weight Fighter programme which is a 4+ generation fighter programme which is claimed to incorporate new AESA Radar, on-board oxygen-generating system, Internal advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite and a host of other modern control features. It is an entirely new fighter jet that is expected to first fly around 2023-24.