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  • Writer's pictureCol. DJS Chahal

Role, Capabilities and Modernisation Plan of Indian Armed Forces


The primary role of the Indian Armed Forces is to maintain territorial integrity, defend country against insurgency and foreign aggression, provide assistance to civil community in an event of a natural or manmade disaster, subscribe troops for UN peace keeping missions and finally, maintain a high standard of operational preparedness to face all the above eventualities.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) or Raksha Mantralay is charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating and supervising all agencies related to the overall defence of the nation, including, the functions of the government in national security and the upkeep of Indian Armed Forces.

The Ministry of Defence consists of four Departments: Department of Defence, Department of Defence Production, Department of Defence Research & Development, and Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.

The Department of Defence Production is responsible for the indigenous production of equipment used by the Indian Armed Forces, with 41 Indian Ordinance Factories and eight Public Sector Undertakings (HAL, BEL, BEML, BDL, MDL, GSL, and GRSE).

The Defence Secretary functions as head of the Department of Defence and is additionally responsible for coordinating the activities of the four Departments in the Ministry.

Indian Armed Forces, with the President of India as its Supreme Commander, comprises of four military (Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) and two paramilitary organisations (Assam Rifles and Special Frontier Force, e.g. Ladakh Scouts).

Indian Armed Forces is the world’s third largest (after USA and China) and maintains strength of 1.3 million active personnel and 2.1 million on the reserve list (after superannuation from the forces/ on retirement all personnel remain on the reserve list for two years and can be called back on active duty in certain extraordinary circumstances). The strength of paramilitary personnel is 1.3 million.

The Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) & the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS)

The Chiefs of Staff Committee was appointed on 01 October 2001. The primary aim of setting up the COSC was to fulfil the need of providing an institutionalised framework for Defence Management at the highest level.

All the three service chiefs, i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force and the chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) compose the Chiefs of Staff Committee. The Scientific Adviser to the Minister of Defence is invited to attend, if and when required.

The heads of the three services of Indian Armed Forces are:

  • General Manoj Pande : Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), 29th COAS, assumed office in May 2022.

  • Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari: Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), 24th CAS, assumed office in September 2021.

  • Admiral R. Hari Kumar: Chief of the Naval Staff (CNC), 25th CNS, assumed office in November 2021.

Conventionally, the member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (service chief), who has been the longest on the Committee, held the appointment of the Chairman of COSC.

Hence, there was no permanency in this "single point contact". Therefore, the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has been created by the Government and General Bipin Rawat assumed the appointment of India's first CDS with effect from 01 Jan 2020.

The Integrated Defence Services (IDS) is in effect the principal functional arm and Secretariat to the Chiefs of Staff Committee. It was created by the Government on 23 November 2001, based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers which was set up in 2000 (post-Kargil) to review India's defence management.

The HQ IDS is staffed by officers and personnel from all the three services, with the primary aim of bringing about a high degree of synergy between the Armed forces.

Chief of Defence Staff

In order to remove adhocism, improve continuity and promote jointness in planning, operations and modernisation of the three armed forces, the decision that was taken after the Kargil conflict of creating the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff has been implemented.

The post of the Chief of Defence Staff is held by a four-star General, who is senior to all the three service chiefs. The CDS is a single point contact for advise on all military matters by the government.

Moreover, the future battlefields will require complete synergy between the three services during combat to achieve operational success. The Chief of Defense Staff is a central agency who has the complete military resources at his disposal. The same ensures economy of effort, quick and effective deployment and optimum utilisation of resources available with the three services during operations.

Furthermore, he is in-charge of the tri-services command at Andaman and Nicobar islands, the strategic command in-charge of nuclear weapons along with the upcoming cyber and space command.

Career Options in the Armed Forces and Paramilitary Services: Please click this link to see the eligibility criteria for various options that you may have to join the uniformed forces:

Indian Army


The Indian Army is administratively divided into six tactical and one training commands, each is headed by a Lieutenant General:

  • Northern Command headquartered at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Western Command headquartered at Chandimandir in Chandigarh.

  • Central Command headquartered at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

  • Eastern Command headquartered at Calcutta.

  • Southern Command headquartered at Pune in Maharashtra.

  • South Western Command headquartered at Jaipur in Rajasthan.

  • Army Training Command headquartered at Shimla in Himachal.

Besides these, there are two joint commands whose head can belong to any of the three services. These are:

  • Strategic Forces Command (controls nuclear and strategic assets).

  • Andaman and Nicobar Command.

The Indian Army is one of the largest standing volunteer army’s of the world, with 1,129,900 active troops and 960,000 reserve troops (also includes the Territorial Army).

The highest rank in the Indian Army is Field Marshal, which is largely a ceremonial rank, and appointments are made by the President of India on the advice of the Union Cabinet of Ministers, only in exceptional circumstances.

Till date, only two officers have been bestowed with the rank of Field Marshal:

  • Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa OBE (28 January 1899 – 15 May 1993) was the first Indian commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the Indian Army. He led Indian forces on the Western Front during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.

  • Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, MC (3 April 1914 – 27 June 2008), popularly known as Sam Bahadur, commanded the 3rd Battalion, 5th Gorkha Rifles. He earned his Military Cross (MC) during his gallant actions in World War II.

He was the 8th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army in 1969 and under his able command, the Indian forces fought the 1971, Indo-Pak war, to liberate Bangladesh. He was also awarded with the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan for his distinguished services to the Indian nation.

Structure of the Army

Each of the above mentioned Commands comprise of 3-5 Corps, which are all also commanded by a Lieutenant General, who is junior in service to their Army Commander:

The Corps may be categories into two types:

  • The Strike or Offensive Corps meant to launch an offensive into the enemy territory and comprises of mechanised troops (Armoured formations).

  • Holding / Mountain Corps to hold the defences and prevent enemy’s ingress into own territory.

Each Corps further comprises of 3-5 Divisions and 3-4 Independent Brigades which are commanded by an officer of the rank of Major General and Brigadier, respectively.

The Divisions / Independent Brigades forming part of the Strike Corps have more of mechanised formations and those of Holding Corps have static or less mobile formations.

Presently, the Indian Army has a total of 37 Divisions including; 4 RAPID (Re-organized Army Plains Infantry Divisions), 18 Infantry Divisions, 10 Mountain Divisions, 03 Armoured Divisions and 02 Artillery Divisions.

Each Division has 3-4 Brigades, commanded by a Brigadier and each Brigade has 3-4 Regiments / Battalions / Units. Each of the above mentioned formations have their own integral compliment of operational logistic elements.

A Regiment or a Battalion is the smallest fighting unit and is commanded by a Colonel. It has a fighting strength of about 1000 troops, including 50 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) and 25-30 Officers.

However, due to shortage of officers in the army and need for employments elsewhere, like posting on extra regimental duties in various Headquarters, attending professional course / leave, etc, a unit normally has less than 10-12 officers present and that is a major challenge, when each officer in effect performs the duties of three officers.

Indian Army, based on operational role, can be mainly categorised into three major elements:

  • The Combat Elements. These elements physically fight with the enemy on the ground and comprise of Infantry, Armoured Corps, Engineers, etc.

  • The Combat Support Elements. These elements support the combat elements with firepower and air cover and comprise of Artillery, Army Air Defence, Electronic and Mechanical Engineers, etc.

  • Operation Logistic Elements (also called the Services). These elements provide logistic support to the combat and the combat support elements and comprise of Army Services Corps, Army Ordinance Corps, etc.

The role of each of these elements during peace time and war, and who all are eligible to join these, is discussed in the succeeding paragraphs:

Combat Elements

The forces, that physically contact the enemy and fight on the ground during an offensive or a defensive battle are the combat elements, and consists of the following:

a) Mechanised Forces

The Armoured Corps, comprising of Main Battle Tanks, like the T-90, T-72 & MBT Arjun and Mechanised Infantry, comprising of BMPs, form the Mechanised forces. These are the first elements that cross the IB in the plains sector to advance and contact the enemy forces.

The role of the Armoured Corps is to cause ‘shock & Awe’ effect on the enemy and overrun the intended objectives with overwhelming fire power, armour protection and blistering mobility of the Tanks.

The Mechanised Infantry follows the tanks and carries soldiers in the BMPs who dismount on the objective and destroy the enemy overrun by the tanks.

These mechanised forces of today have replaced the erstwhile horse mounted cavalry.

Who can join? All candidates applying through non-technical entries like NDA, CDS, NCC Special Entry, etc.

b) Infantry

The infantry provides the ‘Boots on the Ground’, and fights ‘hand to hand’ combat with the enemy on the objective and physically holds the ground captured by own forces during an offensive operation.

Infantry forms the largest component and literally the backbone of the Indian Army. It is also engaged in active counter insurgency operations in all insurgency affected areas of our country.

The weapon system held with Infantry comprises of Rifles, Machine Guns, Grenade Launchers, Mortars, Rocket Launchers, shoulder fired and vehicle mounted Missiles.

Who can join? All candidates applying through non-technical entries like NDA, CDS, NCC Special Entry, etc.

c) Corps of Engineers

The Corps of Engineers provide the engineering support in terms of laying mine fields, constructing bridges & defences (bunkers/emplacement for weapon), establishing water points during operations.

Once its engineering tasks are over it is required to hold defences like the Infantry and fight enemy ingress. The Corps of Engineers has a plethora of equipment like Dozers, tractors, earthmovers, and of course all types of mines.

Who all join? Civil Engineers, who have applied through the TGC entry, can opt for it.

d) Army Aviation Corps

The Army Aviation Corps was raised on 01 November 1986. At present, IAF operates & flies attack Helicopters like the Mil Mi-25/Mi-35 which are owned and administered by the Indian Air Force, but under the operational control of the Army Aviation Corps and play a major role to support the armoured columns and infantry.

Apart from the attack role, helicopters like the HAL Chetak, HAL Cheetah, and HAL Dhruv provide logistical support for the Indian Army in remote and inaccessible areas, especially the Siachen Glacier.

To equip Army Aviation Corps, procurement process for 197 light utility helicopters (LUH) is ongoing, of which 64 will be inducted in the Army Aviation to replace the Cheetak and Cheetah Helicopters. HAL has obtained a firm order to deliver 114 HAL Light Combat Helicopters to the Indian Army.

Who can join? The army aviation pilots are drawn from serving officers up to the age of 28 years from various arms, to form a composite third dimensional force for an integrated battle. Any officer can opt for it if he meets the criteria.

e) Special Forces (SF)

The Special Forces comprise of units which are under the direct command of the Indian military and specifically organised, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations.

The Special Forces have shown their mettle during OP Bluestar (Punjab), OP Pawan (Sri Lanka), OP Cactus (Maldivis) and OP Vijay (Kargil).

Presently, there are eight SF units held with the Indian army, who have been doing a commendable job, especially, in the counterinsurgency operations and during other impromptu emergencies faced by the country.

Who can join?

All personnel who are already serving with various arms and services can volunteer for the Special Forces up to age of 28 years.

After obtaining due sanction for ‘change of arm/service’ from the Army HQ and clearing the very intense probation period, the candidate may be permanently absorbed into the SF.

Combat Support Elements

These are the elements that support the Combat Elements fighting on the ground with fire power, air defence cover, establishing communication and maintenance of their equipment & weapon systems.

The Combat Support Elements comprise of the following:

a) Artillery

The elements fighting on the ground are provided with covering fire and defensive fire support by the Artillery, with its long range guns and Howitzers e.g. Boffors, 130mm guns, Multi-barrel Rocket Launchers, etc which engages enemy with great accuracy from long ranges, up to odd 30 km.

Artillery, along with Air Force degrades enemy defences and neutralises the objectives prior to own mechanised forces and infantry mounts its attack; so that causalities to own troops are minimised.

Who can join? All candidates applying through non-technical entries like NDA, CDS, NCC Special Entry, etc.

b) Air Defence Artillery (ADA)

The ADA is grouped with the fighting echelons during battle and also guards sensitive locations like Headquarters, Communication Centres, etc from enemy air attacks.

It integrates with the Air Force to prevent enemy air interference during battle with its highly sensitive radars and long range gun/ missile systems, like self-propelled guns Tungushka & Shilka and missiles like, Akash, Stinger, etc.

Who can join? All candidates applying through non-technical entries like NDA, CDS, NCC Special Entry, etc.

c) Corps of Signals

The role of the Corps of Signals is to establish an integrated communication and intelligence network system between headquarters and the troops fighting on the ground.

It entails providing reliable wireless and line communication and to ensure its serviceability during peace time and operations.

Who can join? All candidates applying through technical entries, like TES, UES, TGC Entry, and are from Electronics & Communication or Computer Sciences streams.

d) Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME)

The EME is responsible for the repair and maintain of the complete fleet of equipment and weapon systems held with the forces and ensure that it remains battle worthy at all times.

During operations they are responsible for recovery of the vehicle casualties and putting them on-road again.

Who can join? All candidates applying through technical entries, like TES, UES, TGC Entry, and are from the Mechanical Engineering stream.

e) Intelligence Corps (INT Corps)

The Intelligence Corps is responsible to act as eyes and ears of the designated commander. The Int Corps is playing a pivotal role to collect and collate raw data and convert it into actionable information based on which counterinsurgency operations are launched.

Who can join? All personnel who are already serving with various arms and services can opt for the Int Corps up to age of 28 years.

After obtaining sanction for ‘change of arm/service’ from the Army HQ and clearing the probation period, the candidate may be permanently absorbed into the Int Corps.

Corps of Military Police (CMP)

The CMP is primarily responsible for maintaining a high standard of personnel and vehicular discipline and prevent any breach of security. It is also tasked to oversee the correct implementation of the directions of the formation commander on the above mentioned aspects.

During operations, the CMP is responsible to handle prisoners of war and assist in regulation of traffic and maintenance of high security alert at all times.

Who can join? Officers are drawn from various arms and services, trained and posted to manage these very small units.

Judge Advocate General (JAG) Branch

The JAG branch is responsible to provide legal advice to the formation commanders at the level of Corps and above. They also conduct Court Martial’s to punish the service personnel who have defaulted on various accounts.

Who can apply? Only law graduates can apply and a direct SSB is held for selection into this stream.

Army Education Corps (AEC)

AEC is responsible to provide educational training and conduct of promotion exams of the troops. The AEC officers are posted at the Brigade HQ level and above. The officer is also responsible for the upkeep of the formation’s library.

Who can apply? Only post graduates in designated streams can apply and a direct SSB is held for selection into AEC.

Army Medical Corps (AMC)

AMC is responsible for the issue of advisories on health and hygiene of the formation. Its duties also include conduct of yearly medical examinations of all troops, providing all medical facilities to the serving and retired defence personnel and their dependents.

Army Dental Corps

Army Dental Corps provides dental care to all the personnel and their dependents.

Who can apply? Both for AMC and ADC, only doctors’ can apply and the channel of their recruitment is directly controlled by the Director General Medical Services (DGMS).

Operational Logistic (OL) Elements

The Op Logistic Elements are responsible to ensure that the fighting elements are fed, provided with requisite clothing and their equipment and weapons are supplied with adequate spares, fuel, oils and lubricants (FOL).

It is said that ‘Army marches on its stomach’ and hence, these elements are the cardinal backup for the fighting forces and comprises of the following:

a) Army Services Corps (ASC)

The ASC supplies the rations for the troops and provides FOL to keep the vehicles of the fighting echelons running. ASC also maintain a huge fleet of vehicles that is used to mobilise and transport the fighting forces to the intended battle field.

Who can join? All candidates applying through non-technical entries like NDA, CDS, NCC Special Entry, etc.

b) Army Ordinance Corps (AOC)

The AOC caters for the complete range of clothing items, tentage, spare parts/spares, tools, etc. AOC is also responsible for maintenance and supply of ammunition for training and operations.

Who can join? All candidates applying through non-technical entries like NDA, CDS, NCC Special Entry, etc.

Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC)

The RVC is responsible for procurement, breeding and training of all animals held with the services, including horses, mules, cows and dogs. They also ensure the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases to the animals held on charge.

Who can apply? Veterinary doctors’ with a recognised degree can apply. Only SSB interview if held for selection.

Army Postal Service Corps

Indian Army has its own postal services, which caters for all the postal needs of the defence services.

Territorial Army (TA)

Please read through my comprehensive blog to know: who can apply; how to apply; what is the job content and how are the service conditions of TA different from the regular army:

Modernisation Plans of the Army

The Army plans to upgrade the indigenous Arjun tanks and induct Arjun Mark-II variant with: improved night fighting capabilities, enhanced ability to fire anti-tank missile with its 120 mm main gun, advanced air defence, Automatic Target Tracking (ATT), which will improve accuracy of firing on moving targets and superior Laser Warning and Control systems (LWCS).

Also, Army aims to upgrade the BMP-II held with mechanised infantry, to include: integration of latest generation fire control system, twin missile launchers, anti- tank guided missiles, as well as automatic grenade launchers.

The procurement of 3000 to 4000 pieces of artillery at the cost of US$3 billion is underway. The major artillery equipment projected to be procured include: 1580 towed, 814 mounted, 180 self-propelled wheeled, 100 self-propelled tracked and 145 ultra-light 155 mm/52 calibre artillery guns, including M777 155mm howitzers from USA.

Presently, three regiments of the existing 40th and 41st Artillery Divisions of the Indian Army hold the BrahMos missiles @72 missiles per regiment. BrahMos is the world's fastest cruise missile.

India Army is procuring Spike Anti Tank Guided Missile System with 8,356 missiles and 321 launchers from the Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems for Rs 32000 cr. It is a third generation, man portable, fire and forgets anti tank missile with a range of 4000 meters.

Indian Army has also embarked on an infantry modernisation programme known as Futuristic Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS). The infantry soldiers will be equipped with modular weapon systems that will have multi-functions.

Lastly, a Battlefield Management System (BMS) is being developed to integrate combat units, like armoured, mechanised infantry, artillery, infantry battalions, helicopter flights, etc, into a digital network that will link together all components of the future battlefield.

Missile Shield: India has signed a deal for five S-400 Triumf Air Defence Systems to plug the operational gaps in the India’s air defence and the equipment will be delivered by 2020.

S-400 AD system is capable of destroying hostile aircrafts, stealth fighters, long range ballistic missiles and drones at a ranges between 120-400km.

The weapon platform is equipped to fire three types of supersonic and hypersonic missiles to intercept different targets and has a long-range all weather radar that can track hundreds of targets simultaneously.

It is envisaged that three of these air defence shields will be deployed on the western sector against air threat from Pakistan and two on the eastern sector against China.

China has already procured the air defence system S-400 from Russia in 2017.

Indian Air Force

Air Power will be a decisive factor in shaping the outcome of future conflicts and the Indian Air Force plays a crucial role in securing Indian airspace and also in India's power projection in South Asia and Indian Ocean.

The IAF has a total strength of 127,000 active personnel.

Chief of the Air Staff with the rank of Air Chief Marshal is the Commander of the Indian Air Force.

In January 2002, the government conferred the rank of Marshal of the Air Force on Arjan Singh making him the first and only officer with the Indian Air Force to have been conferred with this rank of ceremonial chief of the air force, equivalent to a Field Marshal.

Structure of the Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force has seven commands, of which five are operational and two functional, namely: • HQ Central Air Command, Allahabad • HQ Eastern Air Command, Shillong • HQ Western Air Command, New Delhi • HQ Southern Air Command, Thiruvananthapuram • HQ South-Western Air Command, Gandhi Nagar • HQ Maintenance Command, Nagpur and • HQ Training Command, Bangalore

Each Command is headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Air Marshal (equivalent to army Lieutenant General).

The purpose of an operational command is to conduct military operations using aircraft within its area of responsibility, whereas the responsibility of functional commands is to maintain combat readiness.

Within each operational command is a number of air groups, each is headed by an Air Officer Commanding (AOC) with the rank of Air Vice-Marshal (equivalent to army Major General)).

Each air group further consists of several bases or stations, headed by an Air Commodore (equivalent to army Brigadier) or Group Captain (equivalent to army Colonel).

A Wing (equivalent to an army Unit) generally consists of two or three IAF Squadrons and Helicopter Units, along with Forward Base Support Units (FBSU).

In all, about 47 Wings and 19 FBSUs make up the IAF. A Wing is commanded by a Group Captain.

A Flying Squadron is a sub-unit of an air force station which carries out the primary task of the IAF.

All fighter squadrons are headed by an officer with the rank of Wing Commander. Some Transport squadrons and Helicopter Units are headed by a Commanding Officer with the rank of Group Captain also.

A Flight is a sub-division of the Squadron and is commanded by a Squadron Leader.

Within the above mentioned formation structure, IAF has several service branches for day-to-day operations. These are:

Flying Branch: Responsible to fly fighter/ transport aircrafts and helicopters for operational and peace time missions.

Technical Branch: Responsible for the maintenance and upkeep the aircraft and other ancillary equipment.

Ground Branch: Responsible for providing the requisite administrative and logistic backup to the other two Branches.

Besides, providing the meteorological data, this branch also looks after the pay & allowances, education and medical requirements of the IAF.

Operational Capability of IAF

The IAF has a large and diverse fleet of fighter aircrafts, transport aircrafts, helicopters and trainer aircrafts. The details of the same are given below:

Fighter Aircrafts

Suhkoi SU-30 MKI: Twin seater twin engine multirole fighter of Russian origin which carries One X 30mm GSH gun along with 8000 kg external armament.

It is capable of carrying a variety of medium-range guided air to air missiles with active or semi-active radar or Infra red homing close range missiles. It has a max speed of 2500 km/hr (Mach 2.35).

It is the IAF's primary air superiority fighter with the additional capability to conduct air-ground (strike) missions. A total of 242 SU-30 are held in service. Further, 272 SU-30 are being acquired, with a possible order of 40 more.

All Suhkoi aircrafts will be upgraded to ‘Super Sukhoi’ standards and inducted by 2020.

In order to give the IAF fighters an edge in anti-ship and land attack roles, smaller version of BrahMos missile has developed and integrated with Sukhoi Su-30MKI. BrahMos-A, with a range of 290km and a speed of Mach 3 was successfully test fired on 22 November 2017.

Tejas Light Combat Aircrafts (LCA):The HAL Tejas is an indigenously developed, single-seat, single-jet engine, multi-role light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Navy. It will replace the aging fleet of MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircrafts held with the AF.

Tejas was originally intended to serve as an air superiority aircraft with a secondary ground-attack role, its flexibility permits a variety of guided air-to-surface and anti-shipping weapons to be integrated for multirole and multi-mission capabilities.

Rafael's ‘Derby’ fire-and-forget missile will serve as the Tejas initial medium range air-air armament. The Brahmos NG supersonic cruise missile is being developed for the Tejas. The long range Nirbhay cruise missile is also being considered for use on the Tejas.

Tejas took its maiden flight in January 2001, and by December 2013, it had completed 2,587 sorties covering over 1,750 hours.

In July 2014, the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) was pushed back as six or more aircraft were needed for testing and only one had been produced by then.

Tejas received IOC-II clearance on 17 January 2015 and the FOC was expected by that year's end for induction in the Indian Air Force, but due to technical reasons, the same has been pushed down to end of 2016.

On 26 February 2016, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said in the Lok Sabha that the Indian Air Force will accept three to four Tejas this year and stand up a total of eight squadrons in eight years, i.e. around 160 Tejas Light Combat Aircrafts (LCA) by 2024.

MiG-29 (Baaz):Twin engine, single seater air superiority fighter aircraft of Russian origin, capable of attaining max speed of 2445 km per hour (Mach-2.3).

It carries a 30 mm cannon along with four R-60 close combat and two R-27 R medium range radar guided missiles.

It is a dedicated air superiority fighter and constitutes a second line of defence after the Sukhoi Su-30MKI.

At present, 69 MiG-29s are in service, all of which are being upgraded to the MiG-29UPG standard. The first six were upgraded in Russia and the remaining aircraft will be upgraded by HAL. This aircraft will remain in service till 2030.

Mirage-2000 (Vajra):A single seater air defence and multi-role fighter of French origin, powered by a single engine can attain max speed of 2495 km/hr (Mach 2.3).

It carries two 30 mm integral cannons and two matra super 530D medium-range and two R-550 magic II close combat missiles on external stations.

It is the primary multirole fighter in service and the IAF operates 50 Mirage 2000H, all of which are being upgraded to the Mirage 2000-5 MK2 standards. The aircraft will remain in service till 2030.

MiG-27:Single engine, single seater tactical strike fighter aircraft of Russian origin, having a max speed of 1700 km/hr (Mach 1.6).

It carries one 23 mm six-barrel rotary integral cannon and can carry up to 4000 kg of other armament externally.

A total of 120 MiG 27s are held with IAF. All non-upgraded aircraft will be retired in 2016; remaining aircraft to be retired by 2017-18. It is to be replaced by HAL Tejas.

MiG-21 BISON:Single engine, single seater multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft of Russian origin, which had formed the back-bone of the IAF during yesteryears.

It has a max speed of 2230 km/hr (Mach 2.1) and carries one 23mm twin barrel cannon with four R-60 close combat missiles.

A total of 245 MiG 21 aircrafts are held with the IAF, MiG-21MF ("Type 88") and one squadron of upgraded MiG-21 Bisons to be retired in 2017. The remaining 132 aircraft will be retired by 2022 and replaced by the HAL Tejas.

Jaguar: A twin-engine, single seater deep penetration strike aircraft of Anglo-French origin which has a max speed of 1350 km /hr (Mach 1.3). Jaguars were also operated in a naval strike role.

It has two 30mm guns and can carry two R-350 Magic CCMs (over wing) along with 4750 kg of external stores (bombs/fuel).

A total of 145 Jaguars are held with the IAF. Its Service-life upgrades will be completed by 2020. The aircraft will be retired by 2030.

Strategic Transport Aircrafts

C-17 Globemaster III:The aircraft is capable of carrying a payload of 40-70 tons up to a distance of 4200-9000 km in a single hop.

Ten C-17 are held with the IAF and ten more have been ordered from its manufacturer, Boeing.

IL-76 (Gajraj):A four engine heavy duty/long haul military transport aircraft of Russian origin with a max speed of 850 km/hr.

It has a twin 23 mm cannon in tail turret and capacity to carry 225 paratroopers or 40 tonnes freight, wheeled or tracked armoured vehicles.

A total of 17 IL-76 are held with the IAF. The C-17 Globemaster III will replace the aging fleet of IL-76.

Tactical Transport Aircrafts

C-130J Super Hercules:The aircraft is capable of performing para-drop, heavy drop, causality evacuation, and can also operate from short and semi prepared surfaces.

There are five C-130Js in service. Seven more have been ordered, inclusive of one additional aircraft ordered in August 2014 to replace the loss of a crashed C-130J and six more are planned to be procured.

AN-32 (Satluz):Twin engine turboprop, medium tactical transport aircraft of Russian origin with a crew of five and capacity to carry 39 paratroopers or max load of 6.7 tonnes. It has a max cruise speed of 530 km/hr.

A total of 100 AN-32 aircrafts are held with the IAF. All are in the process of being upgraded to An-32RE standard by this year end. (60 being upgraded locally and 40 upgraded in Ukraine). This will be eventually replaced by UAC/HAL Il-214.

Hawker Siddeley HS 748:The Hawker Siddeley HS 748 is a medium-sized turboprop airliner originally designed by the British firm Avro in the late 1950s. In India it is also popularly called Avro.

There are a total of 59 Avro aircrafts held with the IAF. It is planned to be replaced with 56 EADS CASA C-295 aircraft in the near future.

Utility Transport Aircraft

Dornier: Twin engine turboprop, logistic air support staff transport aircraft of German origin capable of carrying 19 passengers or 2057 kg freight. It has a max speed of 428 km/hr.

A total of 40 Dornier aircrafts are held with the IAF and 14 more have been ordered since 2015.

VIP Transport Aircraft

EMBRAER:The main role of employment of this executive Jet Air craft is to convey VVIPs/VIPs to destinations within India and abroad.

Air HQ Communication Squadron operates this aircrafts and it has maintained a flawless incident/accident free track record till date.

There are a total of eight EMBRAER aircrafts held with the IAF.

Boeing 737-200: Twin engine turbofan, VIP passenger aircraft of American origin with total seating capacity of up to 60 passengers. It has a max cruise speed of 943 km/hr.

A total of three Boeing 737-200 aircrafts are held with the IAF.

Trainer Aircrafts

HAL HJT-16 Kiran:The IAF uses the HAL HJT-16 Kiran Mk-I for intermediate flight training of cadets, while the HJT-16 Kiran Mk-II provides advanced flight and weapons training.

The HAL HJT-16 Kiran Mk-II is also operated by the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) of the IAF.

A total of 81 aircrafts are held with the IAF, which will be phased out by 2017 and eventually be replaced by BAE Hawk.

BAE Hawk: The BAE Hawk is a British single-engine, jet-powered advanced trainer aircraft.

A total of 90 BAE Hawk trainers have been ordered by the IAF of which 39 have entered service as of July 2010. Another 15 aircrafts will be delivered by the end of 2016.

Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer:The Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer is a low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland.

The aircraft is capable of all basic training functions including aerobatics, instrument, tactical and night flying.

A total of 75 aircrafts are held with the IAF and 106 more have been ordered.

Pipistrel Virus:The Pipistrel Virus is a light aircraft manufactured in Slovenia and sold as an ultra-light, sport aircraft globally.

Two of these trainer aircrafts have been recently procured and 72 more have been ordered.

Attack Helicopter

MI-25/MI-35:Twin engine turbo shaft, assault and anti armour helicopter capable of carrying 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. It has a max cruise speed of 310 km/hr.

Presently, 20 are held in service. Four of these have been donated to Afghanistan Armed Forces recently. It is planned to be eventually replaced by American Boeing AH-64D Apache of which up to 70 maybe ordered (including Army and Air Force orders).

HAL Rudra:The HAL Rudra, also known as ALH-WSI, is an armed version of HAL Dhruv. Rudra is equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface, a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket pods, anti-tank guided missiles and air-to-air missiles.

In September 2012, ground tests for the first production Rudra were completed and the helicopter is in service since 2013.

A total of seven Rudra Helicopters are held with the IAF and 38 more have been ordered.

HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH): The HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is a multirole combat helicopter being developed in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for use by the IAF and the army.

This LCH is again a derivative of the HAL Dhruv, which has already been inducted into the Indian Armed Forces.

At present only three prototype helicopters have been delivered to the IAF, who have placed an order for 65 more helicopters.

Heli-lift/ Utility Helicopters

Dhruv: The HAL Dhruv serves primarily as a light utility helicopter in the IAF. In addition to transport and utility roles, as mentioned above, newer Dhruvs are also being used as attack helicopters.

Presently, 66 are held in service and 65 more have been ordered.

Chetak:Single engine turbo shaft, light utility French helicopter with capacity of 6 passengers or 500 kg load. It has a max speed of 220 km/hr.

Presently, 74 Chetaks are held in service. The HAL Chetak is being gradually replaced by HAL Dhruv.

Cheetah: Single engine turbo shaft, Forward Air Controller/casualty evacuation helicopter in high altitude of French origin having capacity to carry 3 passengers or 100 kg external sling loads. It has max cruise speed of 121 km/hr and can climb to 1 km in 4 minutes.

Presently, 14 Cheetah helicopters are held in service.

Transport Helicopters

MI-26:Twin engine turbo shaft, military heavy lift helicopter of Russian origin with carrying capacity of 70 combat equipped troops or 20,000 kg payload. It has a max speed of 295 km/hr.

Presently, only three are held in service. This helicopter will be complemented by the American Boeing CH-47 Chinook 15 of which have been ordered.

MI-17 V5:The Mi-17 V5 is a potent helicopter platform, equipped with modern avionics and glass cockpit instrumentation.

MI-17 V5 is equipped with state-of-art navigational equipment, avionics and weather radar.

Presently, 400 helicopters are held in service (including MI-8s). The IAF has ordered 48 more Mi-17V-5s to replace and augment its existing fleet of Mi-8s and Mi-17s.

Missile Systems:

Akash Missile System.The indigenously developed Akash missile is a medium range surface-to- air missile. It has a 27-km range and an effective ceiling of 15 km.

It was successfully test fired from the Integrated Test Range in Balasore on 19 June 2014.

The 700-kg all-weather Akash missile can carry a 60-kg warhead at speeds of up to Mach 2.5. It can operate autonomously and simultaneously engage and neutralise different aerial targets.

Astra Missile.India’s indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Astra, was successfully launched from a Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft on 19 March 2015. It was the fifth air launch; the first one was conducted on 24 May 2014.

It is an all-weather, state-of-the-art missile developed by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) can engage and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speed.

ASTRA missile is 3.8 metre long and will carry a 15kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead. It is designed to intercept targets beyond visual range, head-on at a range of 80km, or at 20 km range in tail-chase mode.

It can reach up to 110 km when fired from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when launched from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when fired from sea level.

Air Force will have this missile as its future mainstay missile system and DRDO is aiming to arm the complete fleet of Aircrafts with this missile, including Sukhoi's and Tejas, Light Combat Aircraft, which is still under development.

Prithvi-II.The IAF currently operates the Prithvi-II short-range ballistic missile (SRBM). It has a range of 350 km with a 350 to 750 kg payload of Nuclear, HE, sub munitions and chemical warhead.

BhraMos-A. The BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile. It is the world's fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation. The missile travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3 with a range of 290 km.

BrahMos-A is a modified air-launched variant of the missile which has a range of 290km that can be launched from a Su-30MKI as a standoff weapon (can be launched without even entering enemy’s air space).

Force Multipliers of Air Force

Garud Commando Force: In September 2009, the IAF established its own special operation unit called the Garud Commando Force, consisting of approximately 1500 personnel.

During hostilities, Garuds undertake combat search and rescue, rescue of downed airmen and other forces from behind enemy lines, suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD), radar busting, combat control, missile and munitions guidance ("lasing" of targets) and other missions in support of air operations.

It has been suggested that they undertake an offensive role including raids on enemy air bases etc. during times of war.

Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) & Drones: The IAF currently uses the IAI Searcher II (100 plus are held) and IAI Heron (50 plus are held) for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes.

The IAI Harpy (05 held) and IAI Harop (10 held) are in serves as an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) which is designed to attack radar systems.

The IAF also operates the DRDO Nishant (UAV) and DRDO Lakshya which serves as realistic towed aerial sub-targets for live fire training.

At present a total of 39 small target drones are in service with the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

Airborne Early Warning and Control System: The IAF operates the Israeli EL/W-2090 Phalcon AEW&C. A total of three such systems are in service and two more are being ordered.

The IAF is also currently training the crew in operating the indigenously developed DRDO AEW&CS flying on the Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft. A total of two are held with the IAF.

Air Refuelling: The IAF refers to the aircraft as MARS (Mid-air refuelling system). Currently seven Ilyushin Il-78MKIs in the aerial refuelling (tanker) role are held with the IAF.

Network Centric Warfare: The Indian Air Force (IAF) got a boost towards becoming a truly network centric air force with launching Air Force Network (AFNET), a reliable and robust digital information grid that enables accurate and faster response to enemy threats, in 2010.

The modern, state-of-the-art AFNET is a fully secure communication network, providing IAF critical link among its command and control centre, sensors such as the Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems and shooters like the fighter aircraft and missile squadrons.

Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS), an automated command and control system for Air Defence (AD) operations will ride the AFNet backbone integrating all ground-based and airborne sensors, AD weapon systems and C2 nodes.

The primary motive of network centric warfare is to reduce the sensor – to - shooter time for prompt and accurate engagement of targets in near real time.

Modernisation Plans of IAF

Up gradation of MiG 29 with air-to-air missiles, and the upgraded MiGs will feature with increased fuel capacity and will include latest avionics. All aircrafts are being upgraded to multi role MiG-29UPG standards.

50 Su-30MKI are being planned to be upgraded with the capability of carrying the BrahMos-A cruise missile. In addition, there are also plans to integrate the nuclear-capable Nirbhay missile with the aircraft as well.

Mirage 2000H is also being upgraded to the next generation fighter level. Mirage 2000-5 Mk 2 variant has a new radar systems, a new weapon suite, missiles, electronic warfare system, etc.

Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which has been indigenously manufactured by HAL, has been officially inducted into IAF after achieving the Final Operational Clearance (FOC). Up-gradation of the same with state of art weaponry and communication system is underway.

Eventually, a total of 294 Mk I and Mk II Tejas aircraft will be ordered to equip 14 squadrons replacing the MiG-21 and MiG-27. First lot of nine Tejas have already been received.

The Government of India has finalised the purchase of 36 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircrafts (MMRCA) in fly-away condition from France for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the cost of $9 billion. The deliveries of the fighter are likely to begin in 2019.

The new MMRCA aircraft is a twin-engine, fourth generation multirole fighter aircraft and will feature an advanced electronically scanned array radar, mid-air refuelling and advanced electronic warfare equipment.

Powered by two SNECMA M88 engines, Rafale has been designed to conduct air-to-air combat, reconnaissance flights and nuclear bombing missions. The aircraft can be fitted with anti-ship and air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.

The IAF's Rafales will come equipped with the Meteor missile, designed to knock out enemy aircraft and cruise missiles significantly more than 100 km away. The acquisition of this weapon is likely to be a game changer in South Asia. Neither Pakistan nor China, India's traditional military adversaries, possesses a weapon of the same class.

India has also ordered 22 Apache Attack Helicopters from the American AH-64D Apache.

Indigenously developed HAL Light Observation Helicopters and HAL Light Combat Helicopters / Rudra are also expected to join the air force / army to replace the ageing Chetak and Cheetah helicopters, respectively for use by IAF during combat operations.

Light Utility Helicopter: A deal for procurement of 200 Kamov-226T helicopters at a cost of $1 billion was signed between India and Russia on 15 October 2016.

It has been decided that first 60 choppers will be procured from Russia and the balance will be produced in India over the next nine years, giving a fillip to the ‘make in India’ campaign.

The Kamov-226T is a small twin-engine, multirole helicopter, which can perform the tasks of reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and disaster relief operations. It can carry on board, eight combat ready soldiers and has an operational range of 600km.

In all the armed forces needs 484 light helicopters to replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters which are presently held with India. HAL is also in the process of manufacturing 187 light helicopters.

Indian Navy

The primary role of the Indian Navy is to act in conjunction with the other Armed Forces to deter or defeat any threats or aggression against the territory, people or maritime interests of India, both in war and peace.

The basic structure of the Indian Navy comprises of three naval commands, each of which is headed by an officer of the rank of Vice-Admiral and the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), is of the rank of an Admiral:

  • Eastern Command, located at Visakhapatnam.

  • Western Command, located at Mumbai.

  • Southern Command, located at Kochi.

The Andaman and Nicobar Command is a unified tri-service Command of Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard Command. It was set up in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2001.

The strength of the personnel held with the India Navy is 58,350 men and women, including 7,000 personnel of Indian Naval Air Arm and 2000 Marine Commandos (MARCOS).

Operational Capability of The Indian Navy

Two aircraft carriers: Indian Naval Ship (INS) Viraat, formerly from British Navy and INS Vikramaditya, formerly called Admiral Gorshkov from Russian Navy.

Aircraft Career, INS Vikrant, Sea trials have commenced in 2016 and it is planned to join the Eastern Naval Command by 2018. INS Viraat will be decommissioned after the induction of the indigenously built INS Vikrant into service.

Futuristically, Indian Navy is planning to indigenously build another Aircraft Career, INS Vishal, which will be a Nuclear Powered Supercarrier with hi-tech systems onboard to launch and recover aircrafts. It is however, still at the planning stage.

Ten Guided Missile Destroyers: The navy currently operates two Kolkata class (INS Kolkota and INS Kochi), three Delhi class (INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai) and five Rajput class (INS Rajput, INS Rana, INS Ranjit, INS Ranvir and INS Ranvijay) guided-missile destroyers.

INS Kochi, the stealth guided missile destroyers, was commissioned into service in September 2015. It was constructed by Mazagon Dock Ship builders Ltd in Mumbai, and is the second ship of the Kolkata-class (Project 15A) Guided Missile Destroyers.

INS Kochi is packed with an array of state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, with a significant indigenous component.

The contract for three more ships of Kolkata class has also been signed. INS Chennai (D65) is the third ship of the Kolkata-class destroyers being built at Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai. INS Chennai will be inducted into service by the end of 2016.

The ships of the Rajput class will be replaced in the near future by the next-generation Kolkata-class destroyers (Project 15B) which will feature a number of improvements. Visakhapatnam class guided missile destroyer, christened Mormugao, was commissioned under Project 15B on 17 September 2016.

The principal armament of the Visakhapatnam-class will be eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, which boast an operating range of 290 km and will also be equipped with 32, Barak-8/NG surface-to-air missile (SAM), which has been jointly developed by Rafael-IAI of Israel and the DRDO.

The ship will be armed with a 127 mm main gun, a Multi-Function Surveillance Threat Alert Radar (the Israeli equivalent to the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Combat System), twin-tube launchers and RBU-6000 Smerch-2 rocket launchers) for antisubmarine warfare and can also carry two multiple-role helicopters (e.g., Sea King or HAL Dhruv helicopters).

The total cost of the program is estimated at around $4.9 billion.

Fourteen Stealth Guided Missile Frigates: The Stealth Guided Missile Frigates includes Shivalik class (Project 16 class), with three vessels, Talwar class with six vessels, Brahmaputra class with three vessels and Godavari class with two vessels.

The Shivalik class (Project 16 class) will be succeeded by Project class 17A, in which a total of seven ships will be built at Mazagon Dock. The construction of the first ship is expected to start by early 2017 and is expected to be launched by 2020.

The up-gradations in Project 17A will include, compact weapon platform and they will be armed with the Barak 8 (missile) surface-to-air missile developed jointly by India and Israel, and the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

The Talwar class first three vessels will be similarly upgraded and additional four vessels will be built in a joint partnership between Russia and an Indian shipyard.

The older Brahmaputra class and Godavari class frigates will systematically be replaced one by one as the new classes of frigates are brought into service over the next decade.

The lead vessel in the Godavari class was decommissioned on 23 December 2015 after a 32-year career and the remaining two vessels in class scheduled to be decommissioned in the near future.

Amphibious Warfare ships

One Amphibious Ship: INS Jalashwa was procurred by India from US for a total of US$90 million in 2005 and was commissioned on 22 June 2007.

The sizeable deck of Jalashwa can house up to four LCM-8 mechanised landing crafts or can be used for helicopter operations from which up to six medium helicopters can operate simultaneously.

The deck can also be used to operate vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft like the Sea Harrier, in special circumstances. She is also capable of embarking over 1,000 troops, and is fully equipped with extensive medical facilities including four operation theatres, a 12-bed ward, laboratory and a dental centre.

As per the terms of sale, Jalashwa cannot be used during a war or offensive operation, unless such action is granted by the United States Pentagon.

Indian Navy plans to induct four modern amphibious ships in the near future for which tender action is in process.

Nine Landing Ships: Landing ships are meant to support amphibious operations by carrying vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore.

Presently, Indian Navy has Shardul class with two vessels, Magar class with three vessels and Kumbhir class with four vessels.

Ten Landing Crafts: The Landing Craft Utility (LCU) is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore.

The LCU is capable of transporting tracked or wheeled vehicles and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers.

Presently, Indian navy holds six vessels of Mk III Landing Craft Utility, and four vessels of Mk IV Landing Craft Utility.

Twenty Four Corvettes: These are smaller littoral zone combatants in service in the form of corvettes, of which, the Indian Navy operates the Kamorta class with two vessels, Kora class with four vessels, Khukri class with four vessels, Veer class with ten vessels and Abhay classes with four vessels.

The next-generation Kamorta class of corvettes are being developed and will progressively replace the older versions. The first one was inducted into the Navy in August 2014. In this class, INS Kiltan and INS Kavaratti will be shortly commissioned and are being primarily designed for antisubmarine warfare.

The lead ship of Veer class, INS Veer and INS Nipat were decommissioned in April 2016, leaving a balance of ten in this class.

Thirteen Conventionally Powered Attack Submarines: Sindhughosh class (Russian Kilo-class design) with nine submarines and Shishumar class (German Type 209/1500 design) with four submarines are held.

The Shishumar class is being planned to be armed with Harpoon Block-II anti-ship missiles in due course.

These 13 conventional diesel-electric submarines held with India are 30 years old and only half of them are operational due to its vintage and refits. The government has planned to get 30 subs before 2022 to match China's under sea prowess.

In 2005, India chose the Scorpène design; purchasing six submarines for US$3 billion ($500 million per boat) under Project 75 (P75).

The submarines are being manufactured under a technology transfer agreement by the Mazagon Docks in Mumbai from French firm DCNS and the construction of the first submarine started on 23 May 2009. The project is expected to cost Rs 23,000 crore.

The first Scorpene submarine was launched into water on 06 April 2015 and brought to the Naval Dockyard on 28 October 2015. This diesel-electric powered Scorpene submarine, called INS Kalvari has been inducted into the Indian Navy fleet in September 2016.

Numerous defence activities can be carried out through this stealth submarine including mine laying, area surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering and multifarious warfare activities.

The submarine, INS Kalvari is equipped with 6 x 533-mm torpedo tubes, SM.39 Exocet Anti-ship missiles and 30 mines in place of torpedoes, as the Indian Navy's $300 million purchase of 98 torpedoes from WASS, which belongs to Finmeccanica Company remains suspended, as a result of a ban on Finmeccanica due to the irregularities discerned in the Agusta Westland deal.

One Scorpene submarine will be delivered every nine months and the complete fleet of six submarines will be inducted into the Navy by 2018.

One Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine: A nuclear-powered attack submarine INS Chakra is held on a ten years lease from Russia in 2012. Negotiations are underway to lease an additional Akula-class attack submarine.

India’s first indigenously built nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, possesses capabilities to be equipped with short range missiles as also the K4 long range ballistic missile.

It completed its sea trials and weapon launch tests in April 2016 and has been inducted into the India Navy since May 2016.

Arihant is the lead ship of the five nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines launched in 2009. The induction of INS Arihant, makes India to join one of the few super powers in the world that possess the knowledge of designing, engineering and operating a nuclear submarine.

Miscellaneous Equipment: Besides the above mentioned major equipment, the India Navy holds, six Pondicherry class Mine Countermeasure vessels (mine sweeper vessel called INS Bhatkal), 27 patrol vessels, 4 fleet tankers and various auxiliary vessels and support ships.

Besides the above mentioned navy ships, the Indian Coast Guard operates around 90 - 100 armed patrol ships of various sizes.

Force Multipliers of Indian Navy

Indian Naval Air Arm

The Indian Navy air arm consists of aircrafts like, the MiG-29Ks and the Sea Harrier jets that operate from the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

The Kamov-31 provides the Airborne Early Warning cover for the fleet. In the anti-submarine role the Sea King, Ka-28 and the domestic built HAL Dhruv are used.

Indian Navy has also purchased more MiG-29Ks to operate from the aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.

The Naval air arm also has around 30 UAVs like Heron and Searcher-IIs that are operated from ships and shore for better surveillance.


The Marine Commando Force (MCF), also known as MARCOS, is a Special Forces unit that was raised by the Indian Navy in 1987.

The MARCOS, are envisaged to be employed for direct action, special reconnaissance, amphibious warfare and counter-terrorism.

Personnel are drawn from the regular navy as volunteers for training and induction into the commando force.

Important Missile Systems held with Navy

Dhanush. The naval operational variant of Prithvi I and Prithvi II class missiles are code named Dhanush (meaning Bow) and are meant for surface targets.

BraMos Cruise Missile. In 1998, the Government of India signed an agreement with Russia to design, develop, manufacture and market a Supersonic Cruise Missile System which has been successfully accomplished in 2006.

It is a super-sonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. At speeds of Mach 2.5 to 2.8, it is the world's fastest cruise missile with a range of 290 km and is about three and a half times faster than the American subsonic Harpoon cruise missile.

The missile was successfully test fired on 09 June 2014. At present, Brahmos has been inducted into eight warships of the Indian Navy.

Sagarika Missile/K-15. This is a nuclear capable submarine launched ballistic missile with a range of 700 km to provide retaliatory nuclear strike capability to India. The missile is being tested for integration with INS Arihant.

K4 Missile. India successfully test fired the nuclear-capable ballistic missile launched from an underwater platform, with a range of 2000km in February 2014.

With this India completed the nuclear triad available with only a few nations of having the capability of launching surface, air and underground nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

Nirbhaya Missile. This will be India’s first all weather, low cost, long range cruise missile. The subsonic Nirbhay is said to be 6 m in length with a 520 mm diameter, weigh 1,000 kg and have a 1,000 km range with a speed of 0.7 mach.

This missile was test fired for the first time in March 2013 and is in the final stages of development.

Modernisation Plan

INS Vikrant, which has a capacity to carry 36 fighter planes would undergo extensive sea trials in 2016, and is expected to be commissioned by 2018.

The aircraft that will be carried on INS Vikrant would include, Naval Light Combat Aircraft and MiG-29K fighters, besides, Ka-31, and Sea King Mk-42 helicopters.

The Navy is acquiring the Kolkata-class destroyer, the Kamorta-class corvette and the Project 17A-class frigate.

The navy also plans to procure eight mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs) of the Future Indian minehunter class, to replace the Pondicherry class ocean minesweepers in service.

The Indian Navy has signed a deal with Boeing to supply twelve P-8 Poseidon Anti-submarine Warfare/Maritime Surveillance Aircraft.

The first aircraft was delivered on 21 December 2012. Boeing handed over another two on November 2013 and the remaining five this year.

Multi-role naval helicopters are being procured, which will be equipped with anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare equipment including missiles and torpedoes, and also be capable of being in-flight refuelling. The type will operate from both naval vessels and land bases.

In 2014 the Defence Acquisition Council announced a $13 Billion programme that would include six domestically produced stealth submarines.

Clearance has also been accorded for two Midget Submarines, or “Chariots” for marine commandos to undertake special operations at the cost of Rs 2,017 cr.

An order has been placed on Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) for the manufacture of 12 Dornier aircrafts to enhance the capability of Navy for aerial observation and guarding of the maritime borders.

Guided Missile Stealth Frigates: India has inked a deal for four Grigorivich-class frigates from Russia at a cost of $4 billion on 15 October 2016. Two of these will be built in India.

These stealth frigates are 4000 ton, multi-role frigates, with an operating range of 4500 nautical miles and fitted with hi-tech sensors and state of art weapons, including the supersonic BrahMos missile.

However, the above deal has been linked to India’s plan to lease a second nuclear powered Russian submarine at a cost of $1.5 billion. The first nuclear submarine, INS Chakra was leased by India from Russia in 2012.

India has already inducted six Russian stealth frigates into the Navy, i.e. three Talwar-class and three Teg-class. The Grigorivich-class frigate will be an upgraded version of the Teg-class.

Indian Navy at present has 130 warships, out of which many are old and at the verge of down gradation.

In order to be able to appropriately project its maritime power and effectively protect its interests, India Navy plans to induct 212 warships by 2017.

A total of 39 warships and six Scorpene submarines are under construction in various Indian shipyards.

Career Options and Job Content in the Navy

There are multiple options to join the India Navy, for more details please click the under mentioned link:

Comparative Military Strength

Pakistan India China

Def Budget: $07 Billion $40 Billion $156 Billion

Shared Borders: 7257km 13,888km 22,457km

Military Manpower: 617,000 1,325,000 2,335,000

Main Battle Tanks: 2,924 6,464 9150

Self Propelled Guns: 465 290 1,710

Towed Artillery Guns:3,278 7,414 6,246

Total Aircrafts: 923 2,086 2,942

Fighter Aircrafts: 304 679 1,230

Attack Helicopters: 19 52 196

Aircraft Carrier: Nil 02 01

Frigates: 10 14 47

Corvettes: Nil 26 26

Destroyers: Nil 10 25

Submarines: 05 14 10

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