14:31 GMT15 June 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian Air Force (IAF) is facing a shortage of fighter squadrons amid potential aerial threats from Pakistan and China. The IAF has gradually been phasing out its MiG-21, MiG-23, and MiG-27 fighter aircraft and replacing them with newer aircraft.

    The Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon be getting new aircraft, a senior official of India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

    Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said the government is looking at purchasing nearly 200 more fighter aircraft in the near future.

    The defence secretary said expressions of interest have been floated for 110 more aircraft in addition to the 83 Tejas Mark 1 A Light Combat Aircraft that are under order from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

    The LCA contract will definitely be signed this year, The Economic Times quoted the senior MoD official as saying.

    When asked about what kind of time frame the government had in mind, Kumar said: "We want to do it as soon as possible."

    The Secretary added that the aircraft design has been finalised and that the defence ministry expects HAL to double production of the LCA Mark 1 A aircraft from eight to 16 annually.

    The government is also ready to consider acquiring more aircraft through outsourcing, he said.

    Currently, the IAF deploys Sukhoi 30 MKIs, Mirage 2000s, Mig 29s, Mig 21 Bisons and Jaguars in its fighter aircraft inventory.

    Last month, the IAF decommissioned seven swing-wing MiG-27 fighters, which played an important role during the 1999 Kargil War with Pakistan.


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