350 aircraft to be bought in next 2 decades, AMCA prototype by 2025: IAF chief
"Looking at northern neighbours, we need niche technology built in-house. This is what will give us the maximum result and string surprises in the next conflict," the IAF chief said.
In the wake of increased Chinese threats, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Wednesday stressed the need to enhance homemade niche technologies in an effort to string surprises in the next conflict.
"Looking at northern neighbours, we need niche technology built in-house. This is what will give us the maximum result and string surprises in the next conflict," the IAF chief said while speaking at a conference on 'Energising Indian Aerospace Industry: Challenges for Aatmanirbhar Bharat' organised by CAPF, SIDM and CII.
ACM Bhadauria termed 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' as a strategic necessity today.
"It is time-consuming and requires a budget, but once you get it right, the returns on becoming 'Aatmanirbhar' in the aerospace sector are maximum," he said.
With regard to procurement of fighter jets, ACM Bhadauria said that the IAF has planned to buy 350 aircraft, including 83 LCA Tejas, over the next two decades.
The government had awarded a contract for 83 LCA Tejas aircraft to state-owned plane maker HAL worth Rs 48,000 crore in February this year.
Prior to this, a total of 40 Tejas were already ordered out of which half have been delivered to the IAF. In total, this accounts for 123 aircraft which is equal to 6 squadrons.
The Indian Air Force squadron strength has depleted to 30 from the sanctioned 42. The IAF is hopeful of filling up the gap. Each squadron comprises around 18-20 aircraft.
With regard to the development of fifth-generation fighter aircraft AMCA, the IAF chief said that it was at an advanced stage and that the first prototype would emerge in 2025.