The Indian Air is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. It is the world’s fourth largest air force.Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire and the prefix Royal was added in 1945 in recognition of its services during World War II.
Over the years reliable sources provided notably divergent estimates of the personnel strength of the Indian Air Force after analysing open-source intelligence. The public policy organisation GlobalSecurity.org had estimated that the IAF had an estimated strength of 110,000 active personnel in 1994. In 2006, Anthony Cordesman estimated that strength to be 170,000 in the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) publication “The Asian Conventional Military Balance in 2006”.In 2010, James Hackett revised that estimate to an approximate strength of 127,000 active personnel in the IISS publication “Military Balance 2010”. Indian defence minister, Manohar Parrikar, officially released the sanctioned strength of the Indian Air Force in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
In July 2016, the Indian Air Force had an authorised strength of 12,244 officers and 138,596 enlisted personnel. There was a shortage of 29 officers with the held strength of 12,215 officers. Similarly, there was a shortage of 10,380 enlisted personnel with the held strength of 128,216.