Feb 11, 2014
Indian Air Force will buy 14 Tejas squadrons
On December 20, when the Tejas was cleared for operational service in the Indian Air Force, Defence Minister declared 200 Tejas fighters would eventually enter combat service. Today, that figure quietly swelled to well above 300, with the government indicating the IAF would have at least 14 Tejas squadrons.
Each IAF combat squadron has 21 fighter aircraft; 14 squadrons add to 294 Tejas fighters. The 21 comprise 16 frontline, single-seat fighters, two twin-seat trainers and three reserve aircraft to make up losses in a war.
The MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircrafts of the IAF have already been upgraded and currently equip 14 combat squadrons. These aircraft, however, are planned for being phased out over the next few years and will be replaced by the LCA.
The IAF has committed to inducting only six Tejas squadrons — two squadrons of the current Tejas Mark I, and four squadrons of the improved Tejas Mark II. In addition, the navy plans to buy 40-50 Tejas for its future aircraft carriers.