The Indian Air Force (IAF) has sought additional money from the government to buy new equipment and also pay for weapons and systems it has already contracted to purchase.
IAF sources states that the capital expenditure of Rs 39,300 crore earmarked for IAF in this year’s budget is not enough to upgrade capabilities and more money needs to be pumped in to avoid a funding crisis, said one of the officials cited above. IAF requires at least Rs 40,000 crore more to pursue its modernization.
“There’s a worrying mismatch between our requirements and the money allocated for it. We have asked the government to provide more funds. We have been told that IAF’s demand will be looked into at the revised estimate stage in December,” the sources said.
Big-ticket critical purchases on IAF’s wish list, running into billions of dollars, include 114 new medium-weight fighter planes, 83 light combat aircraft, a mix of 33 more MiG-29s and Sukhoi-30s, six aerial refueling planes, 56 new medium transport aircraft and 70 basic trainer aircraft.
“Apart from buying new platforms, we also have to make payments for those that were contracted for earlier and are in the process of being inducted. The IAF has a committed liability of Rs 48,000 crore,” IAF sources added.
The already ordered multi-billion dollar weaponry and systems that the air force has to pay for include 36 Rafale fighter planes from France, five S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia and 22 Apache AH-64E attack helicopters and CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from the United States.