IAF shopping list: Mig-21 tyres, An-32 lugs, and IL-78 wheel hubs


That Indiais warming to western aircraft is well known. In the last few years the countryhas purchased Lockheed Martin C-130Js as well as Boeing P-8Is and C-17s. In thepast it has bought Mirage and Jaguar aircraft. Mainly, though, Indiahas bought Russian kit. 

Anecdotally, Russian aircraft are difficult to maintain,particularly older types. Some idea of the challenges the IAF faces can begleaned from the tenders it regularly issues for spares.

The An-32 seems to be a particular culprit.  At present there are four separate tenders fordozens of  spare parts. These range from32 chains (part # 1-2-02(OST1-10806-72)) to 28 bridges (320207605100-0) and 112 lugs (32.02.9605.261.00).

A number of tenders relate to the IL-76transport and its IL-78 tanker variant. At present the IAF needs 35 wheel hubs(KT-199-100) for its IL-78 fleet. Indian defence pundits have told me that theIAF is rather displeased with its IL-78 fleet, hence its interest in tankersfrom Airbus.

The IAF also needs some serious tyres for its MiG-21s: 1,400tyre nose wheels without tube (500X180), 220 tube nose wheels (500X180A), and 400tyre main wheel with tubes.  Tyres willnever be the coolest part of a fighter, but they are important.

All air forces (and vintage car owners, for that matter)face issues finding spares for older equipment. India, however, seems to beparticularly challenged, with a diversity of aircraft types  - many with overlapping capabilities – and anumber of airframes that have served well beyond their intended service life,particularly the MiG-21s. A glance at the IAF’s tenders underlines its urgentneed to obtain new types.



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