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India faces dire fighter and helicopter deficit, with no solution in sight

2nd June 2023 - 02:26 GMT | by Neelam Mathews in Delhi


The MiG-21 is India’s oldest fighter, and the fleet is subject to regular crashes. (Photo: Sheeju, Wikimedia)

After crashes, the Indian military has grounded MiG-21 fighters and Dhruv helicopters. India still needs to find a way to overcome deep-seated challenges to replace ageing aircraft.

An Achilles heel of India’s military has been exposed following recent crashes, with MiG-21 and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) fleets grounded in May. 

India is facing a severe crisis, as illustrated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) plummeting to 31 fighter squadrons compared to the required 42.

Nonetheless, the military will soon start flying the ALH for emergency operations. An MoD official told Shephard, ‘The process to check all variants of the ALH is a bit lengthy and [is occurring] in phases.’

He refused to divulge the number of ALHs in which steel rods had replaced aluminium control rods,

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Neelam Mathews


Neelam Mathews

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

She has written for …

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