The Indian Air Force came into existence on8 October 1932 during the days of the Raj-an euphemism for British rule.
it was entirely equipped with British aircraftwhich were seconded from the Royal Air Force.
In 1946, the IAF also got its first transportsquadron which was equipped with the C-47 an American military plane.
The IAF was also allowed to cannibalize andget ready at least 2 squadrons of the B-24( Liberator).
This plane was used by the US Air Force foroperations in China against the Japanese from bases in India.
After the war, many of these planes were abandonedat Kanpur and these after repairs became the heavy bomber squadron of the IAF.
In 1952 a team from the USAF came to Indiaand were impressed with the way the Indians were using the B-24.
The B-24 was a 4-engine piston plane witha range of 3000 miles.
Drifting to the Soviets :: In the late fifties, the Indian policy beganto have a marked pro-Soviet tilt.
Primarily this was because India did not wantto join the military pacts against Russia and the Indian prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehrubegan to follow a policy of nonalignment.
The IAF at that stage requested for the LightningMark III but the western powers were wary of India and refused.
The Russian premier Nikita Kruschev saw hisopportunity and offered the MIG fighter to India with manufacturing facilities.
The left-leaning Indian Defence Minster KrishnaMenon who was rabidly pro-soviet readily accepted the Russian offer.
Thus the first MIG-21 a Mach II interceptorbecame part of the IAF.
Another reason to have a pro-soviet tilt wasKashmir – a bone of contention between India and Pakistan.
The Soviets backed India with their Veto inthe security council.
Russian aircraft now poured into India andthe IAF had the MIG- 23, 27, Su-7 , IL- 76, AN -32 and the MI 15 helicopter in service.
The victory over Pakistan in 1971 establishedIndia as the dominant power in SE Asia.
Closer to the USA :: The air force became totally dependent onSoviet Russia and the Russians began to charge exorbitant payments for spare parts.
The Soviet Union also collapsed and Indiawas confronted with a situation that dictated a change to the old policy.
The USA also began to see India as a strategicpartner, particularly as both countries were threatened by China.
The IAF began to slowly wean itself away fromdependence on Russian aircraft and the C-130, American heavy transport was inducted intothe IAF after 60 years of the C-47.
The Indian government also realized that beinga partner with the USA would be a better option and things began to move faster once Obamabecame president.
India has now moved firmly towards a partnershipwith the USA with Narendra Modi as the PM.
The Soviet connection has gone though theIAF still uses Russian-made fighters and bombers.