India is celebrating its 74th Republic Day on January 26, 2023, and like every year, will show its military prowess and cultural diversity at the Republic Day Parade. What's special is the fact that this is the first R-Day parade that will take place on the newly renamed Kartavya Path as part of Central Vista redevelopment project. Taking part in the parade and thrilling the audience will be the fly past by the Indian Air Force. The IAF is among the most advanced and well-equipped military arms in the world and will display 57 aircrafts including 9 Rafales. IAF will also showcase homemade HAL Tejas LCA, Sukhoi Su-30MKI apart from other jets. Here's a look at the most deadly and advanced fighter jets used by the Indian Air Force:
The French-made Dassault Rafale is a 4.5 Gen fighter jet, one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets in the world. India recently inducted 36 units of these multi role combat aircraft, forming 2 squadrons of the India’s winged armed force. The first squadron of the aircraft is deployed at the Ambala Air Force Station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF. The Dassault Rafale is based on the delta wing architecture that helps it achieve G-forces as high as 11G. India has placed an order for both single and dual seating cabin Rafales and the aircraft is capable of carrying a most advanced weapons with latest-gen avionics and mechanicals.
HAL Tejas LCA
One of the proudest moments for make-in-India campaign is the induction of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited made Tejas LCA (Light Combat Aircraft). India has long been borrowing its fighter jets from countries like Russia, France and Britain and the Tejas was conceptualized to replace the ageing Soviet sourced MiG-21. IAF has placed an order of 40 Tejas Mk 1, including 32 single-seat aircraft and eight twin-seat trainers. IAF has also initiated procurement of a further 73 single-seat fighters in Mk 1A configuration. The Tejas is also made on Delta-winged structure is among the most advanced jets of India.
Before Rafale entered service in the IAF, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI used to be the most advanced fighter jets in India. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is made by HAL under license agreement with Russia’s Sukhoi and is fondly called Flanker. Used exclusively by the Indian Air Force, there’s an estimated close to 300 units of 30MKI, the first unit being inducted in 2002. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI can carry a wide range of equipment and armaments and has a top speed of Mach 2 (2120 kmph).
Back in 2019, a daring attempt was made by the Indian Air Force to enter the POK and destroy terrorist outfits, better known today as the Balakot Strikes. IAF deployed its Mirage-2000 fighter jets for the operation, again made by Dassault Aviation. Not just 2019, the Mirage-2000, called Vajra (meaning lightning thunderbolt in Sanskrit) by IAF has also played a decisive role in the 1999 war of Kargil. India placed an order of 50 jets as an answer to Pakistan buying the US-made F-16 fighter jets by Lockheed Martin.
Last on our list is again a Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau made fighter called MiG-29 and is known as Baaz (Hawk). India is one of the largest importers of the MiG-29 and uses it for both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy, operating them INS aircraft carriers. The IAF currently uses the upgraded MiG-29 UPG and was extensively used during the Kargil War to provide escort for Mirage-2000 attacking targets with laser-guided bombs.