IAF is still flying 44-year-old MiG-21 nobody driving cars of that vintage: Indian air chief

Published: August 20, 2019
Email
Upgraded version of the same jet was flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman which was shot down by PAF aircraft. PHOTO COURTESY: INDIAN AIR FORCE

Upgraded version of the same jet was flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman which was shot down by PAF aircraft. PHOTO COURTESY: INDIAN AIR FORCE

Indian air chief has said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is still flying over four decades old aircraft when no one even drives cars that old.

“We are still flying MiG-21 which is 44-year-old but nobody driving cars of that vintage,” Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said at a seminar on Tuesday on modernisation and indigenisation of the IAF when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was right beside him.

Questions have been raised about the four-decade-old fighter planes that remain the core of India’s defence fleet since the February 27 dogfight in which an IAF pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured after Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets shot down two Indian jets after they intruded into its territory. He was handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah border on March 1.

Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over LoC ceasefire violations

According to NDTV, the aircraft had been in service for decades because of the overhauling using Indian-made components.

“Over 95 per cent of components required in overhauling are made in India. The Russians are not flying the MiG but we are because we have overhaul facilities,” said the air chief.

Dhanoa said the basic version of the Russian fighter jet would be phased out this year. “Hopefully, I will fly the last sortie in September, subject to visibility.”

The MiG-21 has seen several crashes over the years. Over the past 40 years, India has lost more than half of its MiG combat fleet of 872 aircraft, parliament was told recently.

The story originally appeared on NDTV

Facebook Conversations

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in World