Indian Air Force presently is going through its most difficult of the times where it will be retiring more aircraft than what it will be inducting causing imbalance in Squadron strength. Air Force currently operates 28 squadrons even though the sanctioned strength is 42.
There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the Indian Air Force (IAF), which is at its lowest point since the 1970s, with just 28 fighter squadrons operational against its authorized 42 squadrons.
A senior IAF planner has told Business Standard that the squadron strength will not fall any lower. Starting from 2020, numbers will gradually rise. Three squadrons will be inducted this year, while only two squadrons would be withdrawn from operational service.
First thing that we would like to clear out is that the need of 42 “combat” squadrons was coined many years back when the Indian Air Force’s major part of the fleet was 3rd generation fighters & 4th generation fighters like the Su-30MKI were gradually catching up.
The 3rd generation fighters were designed to perform a single & focused role like interceptor (MiG-21), ground attack (Jaguar), close air support (MiG-27) etc.