30.1 C
Delhi
Sunday, July 21, 2024 9:40 am
HomeIndiaWhy India is discontinuing its longest-serving fighter jet

Why India is discontinuing its longest-serving fighter jet

They soared over Indian skies for the final time. On 31 October, the Indian Air Drive’s MiG-21 Bison fighter jets flew for the final time over the Barmer city of Rajasthan. The MiG-21 shared the area with the Su-30 MKI, signifying the transformation inside the Air Drive.

The section out is a part of the Indian Air Drive’s transformation and the IAF has stated that the MiG-21 shall be totally retired from service by 2025 and shall be changed by Mk-IA plane. Presently, there are solely two MiG-21 squadrons nonetheless in operation and they’re at the moment primarily based at Bikaner and Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

As we mark this pivotal second in Indian Air Drive historical past, let’s take a more in-depth take a look at this fighter jet’s storied historical past and the way it has performed a central function in bolstering India’s aerial fight capabilities.

Taking to the skies

The MiG-21 has a protracted historical past in India; it’s the nation’s longest-serving fighter aircraft. The one engine, single-seater multi-role fighter/floor assault plane was designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau (OKB) of the erstwhile Soviet Union.

In 1963, India inducted the jet into our forces, and over the subsequent few many years they had been upgraded to carry out a wide range of roles carried out by a fighter plane, together with floor assault.

Since its induction, India has procured over 700 MiG-21 plane of various variations. The most recent of those was the MiG-21 Bison, which is an upgraded plane with superior missiles and radars and higher avionics. Over a 100 MiG-21s with the IAF have been upgraded to Bison since 2006.

The aircraft obtained super protection in 2019 when Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, piloting the plane, had shot down a F-16 fighter of Pakistan a day after India had carried out the Balakot air strikes.

IAF bids adieu to the MiG21 Why India is discontinuing its longestserving fighter jet
A MIG-21 plane soars excessive within the skies in Bengaluru. In 1963, India inducted the jet into our forces, and over the subsequent few many years they had been upgraded to carry out a wide range of roles carried out by a fighter plane, together with floor assault. File picture/PTI

MiG-21 proves its mettle

Over time, the MiG-21 has been a useful a part of the Indian Air Drive. It has made substantial contributions throughout India’s wars.

Within the 1965 conflict with Pakistan, it served because the mainstay of the IAF. In truth, the MiG-21s had a really memorable encounter with the Pakistan Air Drive throughout that point.

Later throughout the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, the MiG-21 as soon as once more performed a serious function in swaying the lead to India’s favour. On 4 December 1971, the MiG-21 first noticed motion when Flying Officer Jayendra Sukrut Raj of the No. 4 Oorials shot down a Pakistani Canadair F-86E Sabre over Tezgaon in East Pakistan.

Also read: How the MiG-21 tilted the 1971 war in India’s favour with its 13/1 success ratio

On 6 December, Wing Commander Bishnoi led a formation of 4 MiG-21s from the twenty eighth squadron in the direction of Tezgaon, the one operational Pakistan Air Drive Airbase in East Pakistan. Every MiG-21 dropped a pair of 500 kg iron bombs instantly onto the runway and grounded the Pakistan Air Drive (PAF). Not a single PAF Sabre was capable of take off from the cratered runway thereafter and the IAF had established air supremacy over East Pakistan inside 48 hours.

The MiG-21 additionally served India nicely throughout the 1999 Kargil Warfare.

IAF bids adieu to the MiG21 Why India is discontinuing its longestserving fighter jet
An Indian Air Drive MiG-21 fighter plane has been a useful a part of the Indian Air Drive. It has made substantial contributions throughout India’s wars. File picture/PTI

‘Flying coffin, widow maker’

Nevertheless, regardless of the MiG-21’s invaluable contributions, it has additionally had a chequered previous. It has been dubbed grim names such because the “widow-maker” or the “flying coffin” owing to the quite a few crashes throughout its years in service.

In accordance with authorities knowledge, near 500 MiG-21s have crashed within the final 60 years, killing over 170 pilots. Greater than 20 plane have crashed since 2010. In truth, within the very first yr of its induction in 1963, two of the Soviet-era plane had crashed.

In 2012, then Defence Minister AK Antony had stated in Parliament that greater than half of the 872 MiG plane bought from Russia had crashed.

IAF bids adieu to the MiG21 Why India is discontinuing its longestserving fighter jet
Locals collect after a MiG-21 fighter plane of the Indian Air Drive (IAF) crashed in Hanumangarh district in Could. At the least three civilians had been killed within the incident. File picture/PTI

This yr, a MiG-21 crashed close to Rajasthan’s Suratgarh throughout a routine coaching sortie in Could, killing three civilians. The IAF had then issued an announcement: “A MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed. The aircraft had got airborne for a routine operational training sortie from the Air Force Station at Suratgarh. Soon thereafter, the pilot experienced an onboard emergency, following which he attempted to recover the aircraft as per existing procedures.”

“Having failed to do so, he initiated an ejection, sustaining minor injuries in the process. The pilot was recovered from about 25 kilometres North East of Suratgarh base. The aircraft wreckage fell on a house in Bahlol Nagar in Hanumangarh district, unfortunately leading to the loss of three lives,” it added.

In 2022, one MiG-21 had crashed whereas one other 5 had crashed in 2021. These incidents led to the deaths of 5 pilots.

The explanations for the crashes have been a number of — starting from technical defects, human error, fowl hits or spatial disorientation of pilots in sure circumstances.

However regardless of the various crashes, the MiG-21 continues for use with a number of retired personnel vouching for its security. Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retired), the Director Normal of Centre for Air Energy Research (CAPS), advised ThePrint, “The MiG-21 Bison is an upgraded aircraft. While the aircraft has got the tag of flying coffins, the safety record of the aircraft is actually good if one compares the years in service and the flying hours.”

Making manner for superior plane

The section out of the MiG-21 comes to be able to revolutionise the Indian Air Drive. Specialists imagine that the absence of extra fighter jets within the Indian Air Drive for a very long time was one of many causes for the accident. For a very long time, with the inclusion of no new fighter jets within the Air Drive, the whole weight was on the MiG-21.

Nevertheless, the IAF will now induct completely different variants of Tejas LCA within the coming years to interchange the ageing plane. The defence ministry in 2021 awarded a Rs 48,000-crore contract to Hindustan Aeronautics Restricted for 83 LCA Mk-1A jets for IAF. The primary Mk-1A plane shall be delivered to the Air Drive in three years, with the remaining being provided by 2030. The deal includes the availability of 73 Mk-1A fighter jets and 10 LCA Mk-1 coach plane.

Former Air Vice Marshal Sunil Nanodkar (retired) stated that at the moment 36 Rafale have been included within the Air Drive, however their quantity remains to be much less in comparison with the requirement.

As of now, the Indian Air Drive has 32 squadrons towards the 42 mandated by the federal government to sort out a collusive risk from China and Pakistan. The quantity may go down to twenty-eight squadrons by 2024-25 when all of the MiG-21s are phased out.

With inputs from companies

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Featured

Recent Comments