Independence Day Special | Added Air Power in the Indian Armed Forces

In the recent past, we have heard about many aircraft and drones added to the existing arsenal of our armed forces. We, this Independence Day have compiled a special blog on all the added Air Power into the Indian Armed Forces with their prominent details & explanation.

With this we wish our readers & customers, a very Happy 74th Independence Day

We will cover Indian Army, Indian Air Force & Indian Navy with the detailed explanation of the added air power into their arsenal and their current status. How these added aircraft can be used to deter our enemies. So, let’s start with Indian Army;

Indian Army :

Recently, Indian Army was in news because of its bloody clash with the Chinese PLA at the Galwan Valley in which, Indian soldiers fought bravely giving a bloody nose to the Chinese PLA. After the incident, there were reports of many sorties by Chinook & Apache alongside LAC. Meanwhile, the Apaches are still in the waiting list of the Indian Army.

Army Aviation Corps was raised after the Siachin Conflict (1984) in 1986 when for the first time in history IAF’s observation posts were transferred to the Indian Army to raise its Aviation Corps.It posses an attack helicopter–HAL Rudra & 3 Transport Helicopters–HAL Dhruva, HAL Chetak & HAL Cheetah.


1.Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) :

  • Added-Air-Power-Rudra-LCH-OnwayMechanic
  • LCH-at-LEH-added-air-power-OnwayMechanic
  • LCH-Added-Air-Power-OnwayMechanic
  • Added-Air-power-LCH-OnwayMechanic

HAL has started production of Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) in its Bengaluru facility.Indian Army will receive maximum of the LCHs manufactured by HAL out of 165 LCHs.

Also read : Indian Army Deploys T-90 Bhishma Tanks along LAC | T-90’s explained

Meanwhile, the good news is, its induction has already started in Indian Air Force, which has received 2 LCH on August 12th.And on emergency basis, LCH has been deployed for operations at High Altitude (Leh Sector) to support IAF missions.This will definitely going to be a big morale boost for the Indian Army and will add to the Air power of the Indian Army.

Engine & Performance :

LCH is powered by Two Turbo Mecha Shakti Engines which is co-produced by HAL and Safran Helicopter Engines. This engine produces the maximum power of 1032 kW and provides output of 21000 Rpm. This engine can run up to 3000 hours without maintenance. It weighs 205 kg.

Cruise Speed of 260 Km/hr and Maximum speed of 275 km/hr with Never-Exceed-Speed of 330 Km/hr.

  • The LCH is armed with Chin mounted 20 mm Nextor M621 Cannon.
  • 70 mm Rocket Pods.
  • It has ATAM (A2A Mistral) launchers, HELINA Anti-tank missiles, Anti-radiation missiles, MBDA A2A and A2S missiles.

2.HAL Rudra (Advance Light Helicopter-Weapon System Integrated) :

  • HAL-Rudra-added-air-power-OnwayMechanic
  • Rudra-at-Leh-Added-Air-Power-OnwayMechanic

HAL Rudra is an upgraded Armed variant of HAL Dhruva with Weapon System Integrated MK-IV.It is used for Recon, Transport, Clos-Air Support, Escort, Scout, EW Platform & Anti-Tank Warfare missions.HAL Rudra had been inducted into the Indian Army on 4th Feb 2013 & thus assisted in adding the air power to the Indian Armed Forces. (Inducted earlier)

The basic difference between Rudra (ALH-WSI) & LCH, Rudra is Armed helicopter gunship where as LCH is developed as the Attack Helicopter which is capable of flying at high altitude also.Meanwhile, both are loaded with same weapons.

Engine :

It is powered by HAL-Turbomeca Ardiden 1H1 (Shakti) Turboshaft Engines which delivers a maximum power of 1067 kW .It offers the Maximum Cruise Speed of 270 km/hr where as its Never-Exceed-Speed is 300 km/h.Having a range of 660 Km, it can go maximum to 20,000 ft with a climb rate of 10.3 m/s. (Data credits :

Its Engine operations are controlled by Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) .

SPECS of HAL Rudra :
  • Dual & Automatic Flight controls.
  • Accommodate Two crew members.
  • Night Vision Goggle compatible cock-pit & Helmet Pointing System.
  • Nexter THL-20 chin Mounted Gun Turret fitted with 20 mm M621 automatic Cannon (750 rounds/min ; Range- 2000m).
  • 70 mm Rocket system with A2A Missiles.
  • Radar Warning Receiver, IR Jammer, Flare & Chaff dispenser.
  • SAAB Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (IDAS) : It could be integrated with RWS-300 Radar Warning Sensor, LWS-310 Laser Warning Sensor, MAW-300 Missile Approach Warning Sensor.
  • HAL Rudra weighs 5.8 Ton.

Among all the heptors used by the Indian Army, only Rudra has a attack capability where as IAF operated attack heptors like Mi-17 and Mi-35 remains under the operational command of Indian Army. Furthermore, HAL Dhruva, HAL Cheetah & HAL Chetak are Transport helicopters.

In addition, Indian Army will soon get AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.


1.IAI Heron :

IAI Heron

Procured from Israel, Heron Drones are already serving in Indian Army and IAF. These drones have high resolution camera, which is used for surveillance missions. In addition to it, Good news is that the fleet of these Heron drones will be upgraded to carry bombs & A2S missiles after the rising tensions with the neighbors. India will arm 100 Heron drones with missiles to carry out offensive operations across the borders. These drones will boost the capability of the Indian Armed Forces to carry out cross border missions.

Heron is the Medium Altitude-Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which is developed by ‘Malat’ (UAV) division of Israel Aerospace Industries. It can carry MALE operations for 52 hours up to the altitude of 35,000 ft. The induction of IAI Heron will add to the already existing Air power of the Indian Army Drone Arsenal and will provide the sharp edge like the Armies of the developed nations.

2.Nishant :

DRDO Nishant

Nishant is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO mainly for the Indian Army. As it doesn’t have the self-propelling capability, it has to be launched using the Rail launching from a Hydro-pneumatic launcher(catapult technology).Where as it gets down with the help of the parachute. It is deployed in the Army for the first time in 1999. (Inducted earlier).In 2018, Indian Army had cancelled its further orders. So this project is practically dud now.

It possess the Endurance limit of 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Nishant is used for multiple roles like :
  • Recon
  • Intelligence gathering
  • Surveillance
  • Training
  • Artillery fire correction, Target designation & damage assessment

3.DRDO Rustom :

Rustom II (Credits – Shiv Aroor)

Rustom is a Medium Altitude-Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle. It have 3 variants : Rustom 1, Rustom H & Rustom 2.

Rustom UAVs are named after the Professor of IISc, Late Rustom Damania.

  • Rustom 1 : Can perform operations up to 250 km into the enemy territory & can carry variety of cameras & radars with it.
  • Rustom H : Can carry surveillance and recon missions
  • Rustom 2 : Possess the Endurance of 24 hours & it can also carry payloads up to the weight of 350 kg with it.

Rustom 2 Male UAV is powered by the  two NPO Saturn 36MT turboprop engines, which are fitted under the wings with each engine generating a thrust of 450 kgf.It can endure upto 24 hours with the maximum speed of 225 km/h.It can go up to the maximum height of 35,000 ft.

Major roles by the Rustom 2 are Intelligence gathering, Surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR) missions.It is expected soon to be inducted in the Indian Armed forces along with the Indian Army.

4.Bharat :

Bharat Drone

Recently added Bharat Drone is the quadcopter Surveillance drone which is said to be one of the lightest-drone-in-the-world.This Drone’s induction amidst the tensions at LAC is really a boost for the Indian Army.It is being developed keeping in mind the harsh weather conditions at the LAC.It can carry out surveillance operations at the high altitude and the mountainous terrain areas.It was developed by the Chandigarh based laboratory of DRDO.

This drone is listed among the lightest and most agile surveillance drones; according to the DRDO.

Capabilities :

  • It Can even detect a Human hidden in a deep forest
  • Advance night vision
  • Can survive harsh weather; mainly the extreme cold conditions like those alongside LAC.
  • Real time video transmission
  • It can operate in Swarm operations
  • Very difficult to be detected by radars
  • Can differentiate between friends & foes using Artificial Intelligence

Indian Navy :

After the tensions with the both neighbors, India has sped up the procurement process for all the 3 arms of the Indian Armed Forces.Indian Navy was in news after the Balakot Airstrikes because of some deterrence action at the western coast of India.Since then, Indian Navy has added some important aircraft in its arsenal, which are described below;

1.MH-60 Romeo :

MH-60 Romeo Seahawk

INDIAN NAVY has long demanded naval Multi-role Helicopters .In Feb’20, India placed an order of 24 MH-60 Romeo SEAHAWK Helicopters with America’s Lockheed Martin worth $2.6 billion.

MH-60 R is a Twin Turbo Shaft Multi-mission Maritime Helicopter consisting of a wide variety of Radars , Sensors and Avionics for electric warfare .

Seahawk helicopter is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft with power output of 1,425kW.

It has a maximum speed and cruise speed of 267 km/h and 168 km/h respectively, with a maximum flying range of 834 km. It weighs around 6,895 kg and has a maximum Take-off weight of 10,659 kg

Multi mode roles :
  • Anti submarine Warfare
  • Anti surface Warfare
  • Electronic Warfare
  • Command , Control , Communication and computer
  • Surveillance and Reconnaissance
  • Combat search and Rescue
  • MedEvac
  • Logistical Support
  • Night Vision System
  • Naval surface air support
Weapon Systems of MH-60 R :
  • Pintle-mounted 7.62×51 mm M240 D machine gun
  • AGM-114 Hellfire Air-to-Surface Missiles ( Anti-Surface warfare)
  • Weapon system guided kit for precision 70 mm rocket fire
  • Mk-54  torpedoes ( Anti-Submarine warfare)

2.P-8I Neptune :

  • Neptune-Added-Air-Power-OnwayMechanic
  • P8I-Neptune-Indian-Navy-OnwayMechanic
  • P8I-Neptune-Added-Air-Power-Indian-Navy

Actively engaged in the on-going Indo-China standoff in Eastern Ladakh for supporting ground troops in reconnaissance missions , Indian Navy’s Boeing P-8I is a long-range maritime patrolling aircraft , based on Boeing Next Generation 737-800 aircraft.

Designed to protect coastline and teritorial waters of India P-8I Neptune can conduct :
  • Anti-submarine warfare | This is why it is also known as “Submarine Hunter”
  • Anti-surface warfare
  • Intelligence Operations
  • Maritime patrol
  • Surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Engine :

The aircraft is powered by Two CFM56-7 engines providing 27,300 pounds thrust, each made by CMF international . The engines are equipped with a new-generation full-authority-digital-engine-control (FADEC) system.

Characteristics :
  • Speed : 90km/h
  • Service ceiling : 12,495 meters
  • Maximum Take-off Gross Weight : 85,139 kilograms
  • Range : 1,200+ nautical miles
  • crew : 9 members
Weapons System :
  • Mk-54 Torpedoes : Lightweight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedo .
  • Mk-82 depth charge carried in the internal weapons bay .
  • HARPON  blast / fragmentation warhead. : Anti-ship missile, range 124km
  • SONABOUY System : in-water submarine detection.
  • MAD system : low altitude flight surveillance and detection
  • Directional infrared counter-measure system to counter infrared missiles, flares and chaff .

Weapons bay for torpedos & holes for launching sonabouy and chutes

The torpedoes and depth chargers are carried in weapons bay situated at the lower part of the fuselage built by HAL . It also has four hard points for missiles , two on each wing . Sonabuoy and pressurized chutes are dropped from holes under the fuselage . It also has dive chutes used from jumping with the help of advanced parachutes.

Indian Air Force :

Indian Air Force has also seen a sudden rise in the procurement process after the rising tensions with China. To flex some muscles IAF recently made many sorties near LAC using Chinook and Apache heptors. Where as it had seen the much awaited induction of 5 Rafale recently.

In addition to the above mentioned inductions, IAF is to upgrade existing 59 Mig 29 and to procure new 29 Mig 29 & 12 new Sukhoi 30 Mki. We have selected few of the Added Air Power (upcoming) into the IAF, explained below;

1.Mig 29 :

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  • Mig-29-UPG-IAF-Added-Air-Power-OnwayMechanic

Recent upgrades to the Mig 29 will convert it to the Multi-role fighter jet from an air superiority fighter. This upgrade will add 40 years of life to it. This Adds to the Air power of the Indian Armed Forces to become a competitive force.

After the earlier upgrades Migs are now known as Mig29-UPG and upgrades possess the capability of hitting a ground and naval targets , both static and moving.

Mig-29 Upgrade will have ZHUK-ME AESA radar, RD-33 series 3 turbofan engine, IFR probe, an advanced weapon control system and avionics

Engine & Performance :

Mig29 is a Twin engine, Single seater Multi-role Fighter aircraft. It is powered by Two RD-33 Turbofan Engines, which provides the maximum Speed of 2445 km/h (Mach 2.3) at high altitudes and a Speed of 1500 km/h near the ground. It provides the Combat Ceiling of 17 km. Where as the Maximum Range is 1500 km.

Mig-29 is the world’s first aircraft to be fitted with Dual Mode Air intakes which feed the air to the engine during flights.

Its Climb Rate is 330m/s where as its Ferry Range is 2,100 km. It can lift a maximum weight of 18,000 kg.

Weapons :
  • Fitted with 30 mm cannon.
  • Four R-60 (Short Range A2A) Close Combat Medium Range Radar Guided Missile.
  • Two R-27R (A2A) Medium Range Radar Guided Missiles.
  • Plans to integrate Beyond visual Range ‘Astra’ & Bhramos missiles

Specs :

  • Data-Bus 1553B to incorporate newer avionics.
  • Navigation System : RLG-INS w/GPS
  • Stores Management System
  • New VRS (Video Recording System)
  • Display Map Generator
  • Virgilius family Jammers

2.Sukhoi (Su-30 Mki) :

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  • Sukhoi-SU-30-MKi-added-Air-power-OnwayMechanic

Su-30 Mki is the Twin Seater-Twin Engine multi-role combat fighter aircraft developed jointly by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Sukhoi Design bureau for the IAF.The new Sukhoi Su-30 Mki possess the capability of carrying Bhramos with it.

It has the Fly-by-wire flight control system where as the Rear Cock-pit is installed with Large mono-chromatic display screen which provides the guidance for Air to Ground missile.In addition to it, the exterior is fitted with thrust control vectors and canards for the enhanced stability.

The IAF received the first domestically overhauled (domestically upgraded/repair) Su-30 Mki in September 2018.This Added a great boost to the Air power of the IAF and will remain a good asset for our armed forces.

Engine & Performance :

It is powered by Twin AL-31FP Turbo-Jet Engines, which provides the After-burner thrust of 12,500 kgf.It provides the Maximum speed of 2,500 km/h (2.35 Mach) while its Rate of Climb is 300 m/s.

Sukhoi 30 Mki has maximum Range of 3000 km. Moreover, with its in-flight refuelling system, it provides the Maximum Range of 8,000 km with Two in-flight refuelling.

Weapons :
  • One X 30 mm GSH gun with 8000 kg of Armament
  • Fitted air launched version of super-sonic cruise missile Bhramos
  • Can carry R27R, R73, & R77 A2A missiles
  • KAB-500 & KAB-1500 laser-guided bombs
  • Rocket pods
  • Infra-red homing close range missile
Features :
  • Tarang Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), developed by DRDO
  • Chaff-flare dispensers
  • Active jammers
  • Maximum take-off weight is 38,000 kg

Indian Air Force has placed an order for upgraded additional 12 Su-30 Mki observing the intense situations at the LAC.It will see the upgrades like improved air-frame, upgraded AL-31F engine with 5th generation capabilities, modern digital weapons control & advance anti-jamming features.

3.CH-47F Chinook

The Indian Air Force formally inducted Boeing CH-47F Chinook in March 2019 .CH-47F Chinook is an advanced multi-mission, twin-engine , tandom (latin for length or in line) rotor , heavy-lift helicopter. Chinook derives its name from North American people and also from dry downhill winds in western North America . Chinook is stationed at Air Force Station, Chandigarh. Induction of Chinooks have Added Air power to the Armed forces by providing them the much needed heavy lift facility. Recently, Chinooks were spotted doing sorties near LAC.

Features :
  • Vertical Lift Platform
  • Troop transportation
  • Internal and under-slung carrier
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • Medical Evac
Engine and performance :

CH-47F Chinook is powered by powerful and efficient Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines fitted with FADEC (full-authority-digital-engine-control) .The engines provide output power  of 3,529kW and Output shaft speed of 15066.

Specs :
  • Max speed of 302km/h
  • Cruise speed of 291km/h
  • Mission radius of 370 km
  • Service ceiling of 21,000 ft
  • Max Gross Weight of 22,680 kg
  • Troop capacity of 45 troops .
  • lift up to 10,886kg eg:- M777 ultra-light howitzer , light armored vehicles

4.AH-64 E Apache :

AH-64 E Apache

The AH-64 E Apache is advanced multi-role combat , tandem cockpit , tail-wheel type landing gear , twin-turboshaft helicopters with a crew of two made by Boeing . Apaches are deployed in 16 nations worldwide including India . As added air power Indian Air Force will receive a fleet of 22 AH-64 E attack helicopters and Indian Army will receive 6 AH-64 E Apache helicopters . AH-64 Apache fuselages have been manufactured by a joint venture with between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. (TASL) — Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL) established in 2016 at Hyderabad. Adding Apache to the IAF’ arsenal will raise the strike capability of the Indian Armed Forces and will add to their existing Air power .

Engine and Performance :

AH-64 E Apache is powered by two GE T700-GE-701C Turboshaft engines weighing 207-208 kg , Specific Fuel Consumption nearly 77 micro-gram/J producing power output of 1700hp each .

Specs :
  • Height – 4.64m
  • Wing Span -5.227m
  • Primary Mission Gross Weight ~ 6,840kg
  • Vertical Rate of Climb > 2,000 ft per minute
  • Maximum Rate of Climb>2,800 ft per minute
  • Maximum Level Flight Speed>279 kilometers per hour
Specialities :
  1. AN/APG-78 LONGBOW : millimeter wave for mapping and identifying targets for precision attack . Infra-red jammers.
  2. Hellfire Missile : Apache can carry max of 16 hell fire missiles , four each on its quad-pods mounted on four hard-points on both sides used for anti-tank warfare paired with Longbow radar for seeking targets .(usually it carries eight missiles paired with two hydra rocket-launchers)
  3. Longer Range-Electro optics
  4. Hydra rocket Launchers : 19 holdings which can fire 2.75 inch diameter rockets , these launchers can carry a variety of rockets ranging from HE(high explosive) , sub-munition rockets to smoke rockets.
  5. M230 30-MM Automatic cannon : mounted on nose automatically handled by helmet-mounted controls .
  6. Defense : low altitude flight capability to evade enemy radars , on-board radar detection and radar-jammers , infra-red suppression system . Armored with kevlar-epoxy materials , bullet proof glass with outer body able of sustaining 23mm rounds and high survivability in case of crash .

5.Rafale :

Recently, Rafale was welcomed in to India with all eyes on it and a festival like atmosphere all around in India because of all the controversies and superiority involved in it.

IAF Rafales are the most prominent added Air power into the Indian Armed forces and that too inducted after the China-India face-off. We have written a thorough article on it already.Below is the link :

Dassault Rafale ; the 4.5 Gen Fighter aircraft |In-depth analysis

Once again Team wishes you a very Happy Independence Day to all our beloved customers and readers. With this we take your due leave and promise to meet you with more interesting and stimulating articles.

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