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Home > News > PTI

70 MiG 21 aircraft to retire next year

May 26, 2004 16:06 IST

The Indian Air Force will next year retire nearly 70 MiG 21 aircraft that were produced from 1966 to 1970 and have completed their expected life span, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy said on Wednesday.

"The MiG 21s on which the boys are being trained are of type 77, the oldest variant of MiG 21s which are in use to train pilots," he said adding the training was imparted at Tejpur and Bagdogara.

"These were produced between 1966-1970 and would have finished their technical life probably by next year," he told reporters after addressing the Training Commanders' Conference at the IAF Training Command headquarters in Bangalore.

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"So there are no more aeroplanes (to train pilots), we are desperate. We need the trainer (AJT) more importantly than a combat aircraft," he said, defending the country's decision to acquire the Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) from British Aerospace.

Lauding the performance of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in upgrading the Jaguar fighters and MiG 27 aircraft, he said the team of HAL, Defence Research and Defence Organisation and the IAF have built an indigenous mission computer for MiG 27s resulting in savings of crores of rupees in foreign exchange.

"We have given approximately 40 MiG 27 and about 50 to 60 Jaguar aircraft for upgrades and another 50 to 60 aircraft would follow," Krishnaswamy said.

HAL flew the first prototype of the upgraded MiG 27 in March 2004 and has delivered eight upgraded Jaguar aircraft to the IAF, after concurrently developing the prototype.

External Link: Indian Air Force website

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