Saturday, December 07, 2013

Goodbye MiG-21 Type 77! IAF's 1st Supersonic Jet To Retire

MiG-21FL taxis past a MiG-25 Foxbat display at Kalaikunda / IAF PHOTO
By Gp Capt Tarun Kumar Singha VSM

The deafening roar of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 FL afterburner, an iconic delta-wing fighter aircraft that heralded the 'supersonic era' in the Indian Air Force (IAF) will no longer be heard after December 11, 2013, the day it is set to fly into the annals of military aviation history.

Four MiG-21 FL aircraft flown by pilots from the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), last abode of the venerable jets, will fly a 'box formation' as Chief of the Air Staff,  Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne takes salute at the ceremonial parade to bid them adieu.

Formations of MiG-27 FL and Sukhoi-30 MKI will also flypast the parade square in reverence to the legend of a fighter jet that remains the most widely exploited platform in IAF history. It also saw action in the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971. Being limited in numbers,  the MiG-21s played a restricted role in the 1965 war. They, however, played a crucial role in the 1971 war giving IAF the air superiority over vital points and areas in the western theatre.

In the first ever supersonic air combat that ensued over the sub-continent in 1971, an Indian MiG-21 FL claimed a PAF F-104 Starfighter with its internal twin-barrelled guns alone. By end of the hostilities the IAF MiG-21s had claimed four Pakistani F-104s, two F-6s, one F-86 Sabre and a Lockheed C-130 Hercules. The pin-point accurate attack on the Governor's House at Dhaka by IAF pilots flying the MiG-21s proved to be a turning point in the war forcing the adversary to negotiate an eventual surrender.

The MiG-21 was also fielded in the Kargil war. It was often the first choice of commanders as it provided unmatched flexibility due its unique attributes of high agility, fast acceleration and quick turn-around. The versatility of all the Mig-21 variants have immensely shaped the IAF operational philosophy for decades. The pilots, engineers and technicians who flew and maintained the Mig-21 have been strong proponents of its exceptional combat worthiness.

Besides accomplishing major operational feats, the Mig-21 also ushered a revolutionary enhancement in the technological and manufacturing capabilities of our indigenous aerospace industry. With the phasing out of the Mig-21 FL, an era of relentless performance, precision deliverance and intimidating performance will also come to an end.

14 comments :

Anonymous said...

but how many of these are going to be decommissioned. is there any replacement for it. Rafale is not even in the picture.

Anonymous said...

Should've been decommissioned 10 years ago...

Prasanna said...

We should beef up adding more assets than we decomission. Sadly the reality is other way around.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is asking to phase out
Mig-21s ......

Now When its actually begun with Type-77,
I am actually having strange emotional down swing.....

FAREWELL ..... THE SUPERSONIC MASTER OF INDIAN SKIES

Abhiman said...

Co-incidentally, Tejas has completed all its weapon trials, as per Dr. Avinash Chander !

A MiG-21 retires....and immediately Tejas completes all its weapons-trials.

Is this an ominous sign ? Is the Tejas destined for greatness in the IAF ?

Anonymous said...

end of an era.... but should have happened a long ago..

Anonymous said...

Indian defence tech is outdated even the Su-30s...you can't even operate submarines properly.

Anonymous said...

Shiv,
Sorry this article isn't complete without specifics about the Squadrons. We need to know if the Squadrons where this plane is replaced and what will they use now.

Anonymous said...

cannot find anything about this in IAF website. 250+ planes retired?

KVR said...

In the future can some provision be made for air enthusiasts ? Around June of this year the Luftwaffe decommissioned its last Phantoms and that turned out to be a enthusiasts wet dream. Can some such arrangement be done ? of course everyone's kundli can be investigated back to the Stone Age before permission is pointed to raise a finger leave alone a camera :)). I would be the happiest if such a permission is available from the mandarins .

Anonymous said...

When type 77 MIG 21joined IAF and fought in 1965 war all it could do was to fly fast and scare the hell out of the Pakistani pilots by flying at high speeds above them and not able to fire as it had no guns and missiles were totally useless and plane was extremely difficult to fly and control.yet IAF flew it for almost 60 years and here you have Tejas which is a beauty to fly does almost everything and still IAF gave very limited order.the plane will change in every passing 2 years and. Would be game changer as it has inherent small signature due to its size and shape and can further be reduced with particle coating of the skin and radar absorbent paints and active hammers which can be installed in the body and coating to the glass cockpit. It would be very difficult to locate and can be used with a high end plane with long range accurate radar with plane like F 35 which can paint and Tejas can kill.this would make a great team and would be lot more cost effective and high end solution to depleted IAF fleet.making 16 in first year is good but by second year it must increase to 32 and by third year to 48 with and improved upgraded version of Tejas MK 2 be ready to be produced by them. Believe in yourself then only you can achieve it as buying substandard technology at exorbitant price would lead you nowhere.

TIMBAKTOO

Abhiman said...

TIMBAKTOO, great comment ! You snatched the words from my mouth.

axxi said...

well said
except its tejas and rafale or su 30 or t-50 that's going to make the team , not f-35. 150 million on a single engine , as high end solution for vast country like india is stupidity . plus f-35's engine itself costs 20 million , 75% of what tejas cost

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 1.05

The price they are paying for Rafale which is fourth generation plane is exorbitant , the 10 billion deal suddenly became 20 plus billion that is why I suggested F 35 as it is technologically way ahead with a long range AESA radar and 60 planes can be bought in 10 billion and and another 1.5 billion get a service contract. Rafale is definitely out as it very expensive to buy , upgrade and maintain.Dassault charged more than 4 billion for mirage upgrade which must be scratched as it is waste of money as the mirage non AESA radar can be jammed and once Tejas MK 2 is produced the upgraded mirages would be obsolete. I would have chosen Israeli option to upgrade the mirages. The Rafale Evan if they sign now would be available in mid 2017 then why not develop Tejas MK 3 with two GE 414 engines as they have power to weight ratio of almost 12:1 . And have internal weapons bay with stealth features and front flattened like SR71 inlets like Rafale inferno laterally and separate the both engines and have a big internal weapons bay in between the engines and back like F 23 with cooling tiles and rudder elevator which can fly at 80 to 100 thousand feet and can carry a large AESA radar . The can be built in 1 year and test it in next two years and start the production line and then ADA would go confidentially to develop the AMCA.the raffle can then be omitted. The problem with su 30 or su 50 that Russians are poor at spares and at one time half the SU 30 fleet was grounded.

TIMBAKTOO