This interesting piece over at Asian Skies, Flight Global’s blog on all things flight-related in Asia, highlights the difficulities the Indian Air Force is having in keeping its fleet of Soviet-built fighters, transports and tankers flying due to their aging parts.
It lists IAF RfPs (tenders) for everything from Migg-21 tires to An-32 lugs and wheel hubs for its IL-76 tankers and makes the point that the increasing difficulty in keeping these jets flying may be pushing India toward more purchases of Western aircraft.
All air forces (and vintage car owners, for that matter) face issues finding spares for older equipment. India, however, seems to be particularly challenged, with a diversity of aircraft types – many with overlapping capabilities – and a number of airframes that have served well beyond their intended service life, particularly the MiG-21s. A glance at the IAF’s tenders underlines its urgent need to obtain new types.
Remember, the IAF just eliminated the MiG-35 from moving ahead in the MMRCA contest in favor of the European built Typhoon and Rafale. All this makes me think back to yesterday’s post on the Free Libyan Air Force flying MiG-21s; I’ve got to say, it’s a testament to the rebels tenacity and tech skills to see them flying any fast jets at all.