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Assam: IAF bids adieu to Mig 21s
K Anurag in Guwahati | September 06, 2007 16:07 IST
The Indian Air Force on Thursday bids adieu to its fleet of MiG 21 aircrafts based in Tezpur air base in North Assam as part of the force's on going process of phasing out the accident prone sky warrior.
The Indian Air Force bade farewell to its fleet of fighter aircraft MiG-21 in a solemn function graced by the commander-in-chief of the Eastern Air Command, Air Marshall P K Borbora.
A defence source informed that incessant rains, however, derailed the plan for the last ceremonial sortie of MiG 21 aircrafts from Tezpur to Chabua IAF base in Dibrugarh in Upper Assam had to be cancelled.
Air Marshall Borbora was scheduled to lead the farewell flight for MiG 21, an aircraft whose utility has come under cloud as it has earned the bad reputation of being prone to crashes.
Tezpur is the last of the IAF bases in the country to phase out the MiG 21. During Bangladesh liberation war in 1971, sorties of MiG 21 air raft had taken off from Tezpur base to provide cover to Indian troops on the ground.
Since then Tezpur has remained the most advanced air base of the IAF in eastern part of the country and a cradle for young fighter pilots of Indian Air Force.
Tezpur base had stepped into period of supersonic era through the induction of MiG-21(FL) even known as MiG -21 (T-77) on 27 February 1968. MiG 21 FL stands for 'Mikoyan' and 'Gurevich' the two Russians who designed this fighter aircraft.
Further 'F' stands for 'Furshaw' meaning 'After Burner' and 'L' stands for 'Locator' meaning 'R2L Radar'.
It is a front line all weather 'Interceptor' powered by a turbojet engine. The aircraft is equipped with missile, guns, sophisticated flight instruments and radio aids of the bygone era permitting its employment both by day and by night.
Capable of performing ground attack and air defence roles, it became the pride of the IAF, and remained the backbone of the force during seventies and early eighties.
From early 1970s, Air Force Station Tezpur has housed three fighter squadrons undertaking operational and training roles. The MiG 21 aircrafts from Tezpur base are being relocated to Chabua IAF base for the time being on strategic ground till a different generation of fighter aircrafts was not stationed in Tezpur base.
Once the relocation of MiG 21 aircrafts is completed, the Tezpur IAF base will be renovated and extended to house the new generation of fighter air crafts that are being procured by the IAF within a couple of years.