Indian Air Force says will retire all squadrons of MiG-21 by 2025
On the question of the retirement of MiG-21 Bison aircraft, The Indian Air Force answered and mentioned that it will retire one more squadron of the MiG-21 Bison aircraft by September 30 and remaining fleet will be phased out by 2025. Amid recent fatal crashes involving its vintage Soviet-era fighter jets intensified the debates on safety concerns and questions are being asked on the steps taken by authorities to speed up the induction of indigenous LCA Tejas aircraft.
A MiG-21 Type 69 Trainer aircraft crashed in Rajasthan on 29th of July which led to the deaths of the two young fighter pilots – Wing Commander M Rana and Flight Lieutenant Advitiya Bal and it again led to the controversy over using obsolete aircraft by Indian Armed forces which cost the invaluable lives of pilots.
Over the period of just 20 months, 6 MiG-21s have been lost in crashes which led to the demise of five pilots. The MiG-21s should have retired a long time ago but delayed induction of the LCA Tejas aircraft led to continued flying these planes.
The officials stated that the IAF carries out extensive checks on these planes before flying and all safety aspects are taken care of before the pilot takes off and the number-plated squadron would be re-inducted soon with the aircraft of more potential in the coming future.
ANI reported that as per the official statement of the Indian Airforce, “The 51 Squadron based out of Srinagar air base is being number plated on September 30. After this, only three squadrons of the planes would be left in service and would be phased out by the year 2025 and every year, one squadron each of these planes would be number plated”
MiG-21s had always been one of the most important aircrafts of IAF and the 51 squadron is quite famous for preventing Pakistan’s aerial attack on India on February 27, 2019 when a MiG-21 aircraft brought down an F-16 in air-to-air combat for the very first time. But the aircraft had a very poor safety record and the air force has been replacing the MiG-21 fighter jets with more capable aircraft like the Su-30 and the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) like tejas.