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India faces a crisis in its fighter squadrons

5th August 2022 - 04:47 GMT | by Neelam Mathews in Delhi

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Indian Air Force MiG-21s have been crashing at a horrific rate, underscoring the dropping capability of Indian fighter squadrons. (Gordon Arthur)

India is facing a crisis with crashes of older fighters, falling squadron numbers and delays in acquisition programmes.

In the absence of replacement fighters for depleted squadrons, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) capability gap is growing larger. 

The crisis is underscored by the fact that more than 440 of 890 ageing MiG-21 fighters to be substituted by the delayed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) have crashed to date.

A lack of a strategic plan, financial constraints, bureaucracy, a fixation with Make in India, and kneejerk acquisitions have led to this crisis.

IAF has around 30 fighter squadrons, despite a mandate for 42. Following the phase-out of another four MiG-21 squadrons by 2025, the next decade will see the IAF fielding around

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Neelam Mathews

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Neelam Mathews


Neelam Mathews was born in India and completed her education in London.

She has written for …

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