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Air Chief Marshall VR Chaudhari said that the Indian Air Force is falling short of five-six fighter jet squadrons to meet immediate needs

India’s Air Chief Marshal (ACM) VR Chaudhari on Tuesday said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has still not met its immediate requirement of five-six more 4.5-generation fighter jet squadrons. Each squadron has approximately 20 aircraft, so in total, India requires 100 to 120 more fighter jets, The Hindustan Times reported. His comments came on the sidelines of bilateral aerial training exercise between the Indian and French Air Force – Garuda-VII exercise.

He added that it might take a decade to meet the proposed target of 42 squadrons.

Commenting on the joint exercise between Indian and French Air Force, he said, that the aim of the joint exercise is to enhance the interoperability between the two air forces.

ACM Chaudhari as well as his French counterpart, General Stephan Mille, demonstrated interoperability with the Indian flying in a French Rafale while the French flew in India’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI.

“There’s no doubt that in any future conflict anywhere in the world, air power will play a very vital and critical role in deciding the outcomes of the conflict. Such exercises (Garuda) give us the opportunity to hone our skills,” Chaudhari said.

The 2022 edition of the exercise involved Su-30MKI, Rafale fighter jets, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Jaguar deep-penetration jets, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand Helicopters and Mi-17 transport helicopters from the Indian side.

It is the first time that Tejas and Prachand helicopters took part in the joint exercise, the IAF stated. While the French deployed four Rafales, one A-330 Multi Role Tanker Transport and 220 personnel, the IAF added.

In addition to the various types of aircrafts in action, India has employed flight refuelers, Russian-made Ilyushin Il-78s airborne warning and control (AWAC) and airborne early warning and control (AEWAC) systems and the Garud Commando Force (Garuds).

Commencing today, India and France will jointly map the Mozambique Channel, Mauritius and the Southwest Indian Ocean, with the Indian Navy employing the Boeing P-8I Poseidon while France will utilise its Falcon 50, The Pioneer reported.

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