Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar: ‘A replacement (for the MiG-21) could be the LCA Tejas or another – I’ll not call it low end – but a single engine lighter aircraft. Tejas is a good aircraft but it has its limitations.’
After spending USD 30 billion on the FGFA and USD 20 billion on the MMRCA, the Indian Air Force will be left with a serious shortfall of at least 14 squadrons in 2032, going by the ‘best-case scenario’.
Saab’s Lars-Olof Lindgren says his company has been quietly working on a plan to build the Gripen in India and has already done a lot of the homework for it.
The final session of the roundtable summarized the state of Indian air power and discussed ways to alleviate the difficult situation the air force could find itself in future.
The roundtable moved on to discuss the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program, the DRDO development of a new fighter to be produced by HAL, and raised serious concerns on the impact of it’s possible failure.
The discussion moved to the IAF’s tender for acquisition of 126 Medium Multi Role Combat aircraft with the question being: How does MMRCA fit future air power needs, costs, squadron strength?
In the next round, the roundtable discussed the balance of air power in India’s neighborhood and the challenges posed by the air forces of Pakistan and China.