Shocking, Government admits 45% of IAF Fighters won't fly
India admits that 45% of IAF Fighters won't fly due to several reasons. IAF operates nearly 800 combat aircraft while 350 Combat aircraft's won't fly. Such low level operational preparedness irked the Air force to revamp it's plans to increase the service availability. Even the IAF's backbone fighter Jet Su 30 MKI's service availability remains 55% only. The Defense minister said earlier, that Government knows the service availability issue of Su 30 MKI which can be increased in coming years. However even after one year there were no changes in the availability numbers.
The low number of service availability is because of many reasons. IAF currently operates 220 Su 30 MKI fighters. Which is eleven squadron of Su 30 MKI that is eleven Air force bases in India houses the Su 30 MKI fighters. Here each squadron has fifteen active fighter jets along with two Quick reaction jets, one reserve Jet and two trainers. If conflict erupted the Air force base will launch only fifteen fighters, and the other five keep in reserve position. they too launched in case of any emergency's. In normal days two Aircraft's are always assigned as QRA role for launch in the air within two seconds once gets signal to take off for emergency mission.
As earlier CAG Report reveled about operational capability of Su 30 MKI is just below 55%. The major issue considered as engine issues and lack of spare parts. IAF asked the government many times to sign the contract with Russia for mass producing Su 30 MKI spare parts, which include engines and bearings. IAF also alarmed about AL 31 FP engine issues many thimes. However the early government didn't heard the IAF's plea.
The Defense minister confirms in early 2015 that Su 30 MKI service availability will raise upto 60% before the end of 2015. In coming years the percentage will rise upto some 75%. 75% is known as good score when comes to Aircraft service availability.
Currently each Su 30 MKI squad can launch only eight to eleven Aircraft's only, making some ten other fighter jets sitting in the ducks to get repair or waiting o receive spares. Recently India asked the Russians to provide technological supports in three hundred sub components in the Su 30 MKI. Which shows the Russians didn't provide 100% ToT of Su 30 MKI.
The IAF's another Air superiority fighter is the MiG 29 UPG. IAF has three squadron of MiG 29 units or some sixty MiG 29 fighters. The reason of low service availability in MiG 29 is due to the upgradation work. It's clear nearly six to twelve MiG 29 units in HAL hangers for upgrade works in batches. The upgrade works will be completed before 2020. Currently the service availability of MiG 29 also somewhere between 50-60% only.
IAF's Only known multi role attack aircraft is the French made Mirage 2000. The IAF operates three squadrons of Mirage 2000 aircraft's. Where two squadrons of Mirage 2000 based on IAF Base in Maharajpur, and one more in Gwalior. The Mirage is known as one of the best fighter in the IAF fleet whose service availability kept over 80% at any given time. However the Mirages are currently in Upgrade programs that makes Mirage service availability gone below 60%. HAL scheduled to complete the upgrade work before 2020.
The Air force's another and only dedicated ground attack perpetrator fighter bomber is the Jaguar Aircraft. IAF operates five Jaguar IS squadrons and one Jaguar IM squadron for maritime attack missions. The Jaguar's are just completed the DARIN 2 upgrade program. The Jaguar is the only aircraft who currently has the Service availability of some 75%. The Jaguar too get upgrade in coming months with new engines, Display and weapon systems. This applies to the Jaguar IS Aircraft only. All Jaguar IM has upgraded with agave Radar later replaced with Israeli Radar and Sea Eagle anti ship missile later replaced with Harpoon missiles. The Jaguar IM Based on Jam Nagar air force base No 6 Dragon squadrons.
Other fighter jets like MiG 27 and MiG 21 is not a worth fighter in current air battle. They were killed in first shot of war. However they can be reconfigured as electronic jammer aircraft's to confuse the enemy fighter jets. In modern air combat AESA Equipped fighter aircraft's can easily neutralize such noise in air combat.
There is no air force in the world who keeps the combat Aircraft service availability at some 90% of above. Air forces like Japan and Israel keeps the service availability of their fighter jets at some 85% at any given time. Since they use only two or three model of fighter aircraft's, who reduces the spare and engine replacement issues.
It's clear that the IAF's service availability won't increase until HAL and other aerospace sectors completes the upgrade works. So this takes upto 2020. Until that IAF's aircraft service availability won't increase more than 70%.