Top 20 Aircraft of the IAF | IAF’s 88th Anniversary Special

As Indian Air Force day nears, let’s get to know what kind of machines it has in its arsenal. What gives so much confidence, pride & power to the IAF to intimidate the enemy? Here we present you all with a thorough article on Top 20 Aircraft of IAF , on the occasion of 88th Anniversary of Indian Air Force.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is the air arm of the Indian Defense Forces. In terms of man power and aircrafts IAF is ranked as worlds 4th most powerful Airforce in the world. Securing Indian air space is the primary motive of IAF. Apart from defense they also take part in various humanitarian missions worldwide. The Indian Air Force was involved in various wars but none initiated. So on this auspicious day lets take a look at Indian Air Force.



The Indian Airforce was created by Britishers with the view to get enough soldier for the second world war on 8th October 1932. At that time, it operated under the name of British Crown and was called Royal Indian Air Force. They fought bravely in World War II from the side of Britain. After Independence, for three years they operated under the same name. In 1950, it was decided to remove the word Royal after India got its republic status.

Who heads the IAF?

The vast power to command Indian Airforce lies in the hand of President Of India. The Chief Of Air Staff, an Air Chief Marshal, is a four-star officer who is responsible for operational command of Air Force. There has never been more than one ACM. The rank of Marshal of Air Force has been conferred by the President to Late Arjan Singh on 26th January 2002. He became the only five star rank holding officer in the IAF.

Commander-in-ChiefPresident Ram Nath Kovind
Chief of the Air StaffACM Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria
Vice Chief of the Air StaffAir Marshal Harjit Singh Arora

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

Heart And Soul of IAF- The Aircraft.

Indian Air Force is fourth most powerful Airforce across the globe. They are known not only for their amazing warfare skills but also for humanitarian missions, both in India as well as on foreign lands. Some of famous aircraft owned by the IAF are:

TankerIL-78 MKI
TransportC-130J, C-17 Globalmaster III,
CH-47F, IL-76, Boeing 737, ERJ 135
TrainerHawk Mk 132, HJT-16 Kiran, Pilatus C-7 MK II
ReconnaissanceSearcher II, Heron
HelicopterApache, Rudra, Chinook, Dhruv,
Mi-26, Mi-25/35, Cheetah.
FighterSU-30MKI, Rafael, Mirage 2000,
MiG-29, Tejas, MiG-21
Electronic WarfareA-50E/I, DRDO AEW&CS
AttackJaguar, Harpy.



IAF AVRO | Raw Image Credits :
  • Avro works on a twin engine turboprop.
  • It works as a military transport vehicle.
  • Has a capacity of 48 paratroopers or 6 tonnes freight.
  • Max speed of 452 km/hr.


IAF EMBRAER | Credits : Unknown
  • Embraer is used to convey VVIPs/VIPs to destinations within India and abroad.
  • Air Headquarter Communication Squadron operates on this aircrafts.
  • Incident/accident free track record till date.

Boeing 777-300s:

Air India One
  • New Boeing 777-300s will serve as Air India One(Convey for President, Vice President and Prime Minister).
  • It is powered by Twin ‘World’s Most Powerful GE90_115BL Jet engine made be General Electric.
  • Has a small medical center onboard.
  • Security feature comprises of LAIRCM, CMDS, Twelve guardian laser transmitter assemblies, missile warning system.
  • Conference Room, Meeting Room and Canteen.

Also Read : Air India One | India’s very own Airforce One like the US’ Arrives in India


IAF Cheetah
  • Single engine turboshaft, FAC/casevac helicopter of French Origin.
  • Capacity to carry 3 passengers or 100kg external sling load.
  • Max cruise speed of 121 km/hr.
  • Can reach the height of 1km in 4 Minute.


IAF Chetak
  • Single engine turboshaft.
  • Light Utility helicopter of French Origin.
  • Capacity of 6 passengers or 500 Kg load.
  • Max speed of 220 Km/hr.
HAL Chetak Spotted in Bhopal

MI-17 V5:

IAF MI-17 V5
  • They are potent helicopter platform, equipped with modern avionics and glass cockpit instrumentation.
  • Equipped with state-of-art navigational equipment, avionics, weather radar and are NVG-compatible.


IAF Mi-26
  • Two engine turboshaft.
  • Military helicopter for heavy lift.
  • Made in Russia.
  • Carrying capacity of 70 combat equipped troops or 20,000 kg payload.
  • It has a max speed of 295 km/hr.


  • Twin engine turboshaft.
  • Type: assault and anti armor helicopter.
  • Capacity up to 8 men assault squad with four barrel 12.7 mm rotary gun in nose barbette and up to 1500 kg of external ordnance including Scorpion Anti-Tank Missiles.
  • Max speed of 310 Km/hr.

Boeing 737-200:

IAF Boeing 737-200
  • Twin engine turbofan.
  • VIP passenger aircraft of American Origin.
  • Total Seating capacity of up to 60 passengers.
  • It has max cruise speed of 943 Km/hr.


IAF Dornier Do-228
  • Twin engine turboprop.
  • Used for logistic air support staff transport
  • Aircraft is of German origin.
  • Can carry 19 passengers or 2057 kg freight.
  • Max speed of 428 Km/hr.


  • Twin engine turboprop.
  • Medium tactical transport aircraft of Russian origin with a crew of 5.
  • Capacity of carrying 39 paratroopers or max load of 6.7 tons.
  • Max cruise speed of 530 km/hr.


  • A four engine heavy duty/long haul military transport aircraft.
  • It is of Russian Origin.
  • Max speed of 850 Km/hr.
  • It has a twin 23 mm cannon in tail turret.
  • Capacity to carry 225 paratroopers or 40 tons freight.
  • Used to transport armored vehicles.


IAF C-17 Globemaster
  • Aircraft used to transport heavy freight over a long distance.
  • Can carry a payload of 70 tons.
  • Can travel a distance of 4200-9000 km in single trip.


  • C-130J is the heaviest aircraft to land at DBO in August 2013 due to its capability to operate from short and semi prepared surfaces.
  • Capable of paradrop, heavy drop, causality evacuation.


IAF Jaguar
  • A beautiful beast with twin engine.
  • Single seater for deep penetration strike aircraft of Anglo-French origin.
  • Max speed up to Mach 1.3 or 1350 Km/hr.
  • Two 30mm guns.
  • Can carry two R-350 Magic CCMs along with 4750 kg of external ammo.

MiG-21 Bison:

IAF Mig-21 Bison

Commonly famous as F-16 hunter.

  • Multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft.
  • Country of Origin Russia.
  • Single engine and Single seater.
  • Max speed of 2.1 Mach or 2230 km/hr.
  • Carries one 23mm twin barrel cannon.
  • Four R-60 close close combat missiles.

After the Pre-emptive strike on a terrorist camp in Balakot, this mean machine was in almost every news across the globe because it had done the thing that no one ever imagined, shot an F-16 through an outdated but swift ,Mig-29 Bison. We are 100% You all would have heard about the name behind the miracle, Wing Commander Abhinandan.This is the very reason, this jet finds the place in our list of Top 20 Aircraft of IAF.


IAF Mig-27
  • Single engine and single seater fighter plane.
  • Country of origin : Russia.
  • Speed of 1.6 Mach or 1700 Km/hr.
  • It carries one 23 mm six- barrel rotary integral cannon.
  • Can carry up to 4000 kg of other armament externally.


  • Speed of 2.3 Mach or 2445 Km/hr.
  • Country of Origin: Russia.
  • Twin engine and single seater.
  • Carries a 30 mm cannon, with four R-60 close combat and two R-27 R medium range radar guided missiles.


IAF Mirage 2000
  • A multi-role single seater fighter plane.
  • Country of Origin: France.
  • Single engine.
  • Max speed of 2495 Km/hr or Mach 2.3.
  • Two 30 mm cannons and two matra super 530D medium-range.
  • Two R-550 magic II close combat missiles on external stations.

Oh boy, how could we forget this amazingly well built French machine, which ran a chills down the spine of many terrorists and their supporter. This is our favorite in the list of Top 20 Aircraft of IAF, because it holds the title of vaporizing the terrorist camp over a hill in Pak’s Balakot.

SU-30 MKI:

IAF Sukhoi SU-30 Mki (Credits: Indian Air Force)
  • Twin engine multirole fighter plane.
  • Country of Origin : Russia.
  • Twin seater.
  • Carries one X 30mm GSH gun along with 8000 kg external armament.
  • Capable of carrying variety of medium-range guided air to air missiles with active or semi-active radar or infra-red homing close range missiles.
  • Max speed of Mach 2.35 or 2500 Km/hr.

This Fighter jet is amazingly big than other fighter jets and still swift like the others. Sukhoi 30 Mki is the backbone of Indian Air Force, thus it is the prominent machine in our List of Top 20 Aircraft of IAF .


Key Specifications of IAF Rafale

Most recent addition to the family & most important in the list of Top 20 Aircraft of IAF. On this 88th Anniversary of Indian Air Force day, it will be the show-star.

  • Twin engine and (2 twin seater & 3 single seater arrived in India).
  • Country of Origin: France.
  • On air refueling.
  • Short distance take off and landing capability.
  • Scalp cruise missile, Meteor beyond visual range air to air missile and Mica weapons system.

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

Problems In Front Of IAF:

There are many problems in front of IAF. Major one is the old and rusty machines. Before Rafale, the last acquisition of fighter planes took place 27 years ago. So, almost all the machines are ready to get decommissioned but IAF has to still manage with them. Like it had, in the case of Mig-21 by upgrading it to Mig-21 Bison.

Second most important problem is brain drain + low budget allocation to Research & Development. The country with second largest pool of engineers and Scientists have no tech of their own. Almost 80% of the machinery used in IAF belongs to foreign nations. The number of engineers in India exceeds the entire population of France but still we have to import fighter planes from France.

The Rafale, latest acquisition is 4.5-Gen plane, while the rest of the world is in mad race for 5th-gen planes. Even our neighbor Pakistan claims to have 5th-gen tech in their hanger. Imagine the power we can have if skills of IAF get coupled with latest technology but that limits to a dream only. People are busy in getting government jobs so that they can sit comfortably in their offices without pressure. The primary motivation behind government jobs(except defense) is relaxed, carefree, and lazy lifestyle. Government never puts any efforts on conducting research on the avionics and developing technology of their own. Although in recent years strength of IAF has increased, yet we have long road to go.

We hope you liked our way of introducing Top 20 Aircraft of IAF in the most simple way that we could have.

Happy Indian Air Force Day !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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