Hard on the heels of the Rafale acquisitions, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has set its sights on adding 125 advanced combat jets to its increasingly lethal squadrons of fighter planes over the next decade.
Addressing the media earlier this week, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said the IAF sought seven squadrons (about 125 jets) of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) comprising two versions with different engines.
It is believed that the first two squadrons on the wishlist will be powered by an engine similar to that Boeing uses for US fighter jets. The remaining squadrons are likely to use indigenous technology via a joint venture between Indian companies and foreign firms.
“At the moment, we are concentrating on 83 LCA Mk 1A. After that, the follow-up planned is MRFA (multi-role fighter aircraft), which is ‘Make in India’ and the other line is on LCA versions, and Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA),” the IAF chief said a few days before the Air Force Day celebrations, which were held on Thursday.
While the 36 Rafale fighter jets are on track to become fully operationalised by 2023, the AMCA production is an ambitious, long-term plan that fits in with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atmanirbhar push.