The Russia-Ukraine war hindered the supply of two squadrons of the S-400 air defence missile system from Russia, which is now expected to be delivered in the next one year, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said on Tuesday (October 3).
"Our contract was for five systems and three have been delivered. There is a hindrance in delivery due to the Russia-Ukraine war and we are sure that in the next one year, we will be getting the remaining systems. We are also using the Indigenous Project Kusha for indigenous long-range air defence system,” the Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari clarified today at an annual press conference ahead of the Air Force Day that is to be celebrated on October 8 in Prayagraj.
India had signed a contract with Russia for five squadrons of the S-400 air defence missile systems, out of which three units have been delivered on time while the remaining two have not been supplied yet.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said that the Defence Ministry has cleared the proposal to develop five units of Project Kusha under which the Indian version of S-400 missile systems would be developed.
The Indian version includes a multi-layered missile system capable of hitting targets at around 400 kms and is being developed in partnership with private industry.
MiG-21 squadrons to be replaced
The IAF chief also said that the Indian Air Force is all set to replace all MiG-21 squadrons with the LCA Mark 1A by 2025.
“We had signed a contract for 83 LCA Mark-1As. The contract is to be supplemented with 97 additional aircraft. So, it will bring the total to 180 LCA Mark 1As,” he said in response to a query.
"We will stop flying the MiG-21 fighter aircraft by 2025 and we will replace the MiG-21 squadron with the LCA Mark-1A. The same proposal is in place. In another month or so, the second squadron will get number-plated and we will follow with the third one sometime next year. The induction of the LCA Mark-1A will fill the gap of these outgoing MiG-21s," he said.
MiG-21, which has been in service with the IAF for more than 60 years now, has met with several accidents in the recent past.
The Indian Air Force will celebrate its 91st anniversary on October 8 with the theme-"IAF-airpower beyond boundaries".
(With ANI inputs)