IAF bids adieu to MiC-21 T-77
The Kalaikunda airbase recently witnessed three MiG-27 aircraft perform the Trishul break manoeuvre as a salute to the MiG-21 Type 77 aircraft that was towed out and into the hangar for the last time. The Kalaikunda based operational conversion unit (OCU) bid a final farewell to its oldest workhorse.
Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, Chief of the Air Staff, said, “The event marks a watershed moment in IAF’s history as we reach the end of nearly five decades of remarkable operational service rendered by this iconic fighter.”
The induction of first batch of six MiG-21s way back in MarchApril 1963 heralded the arrival of IAF in the ‘Supersonic era’. Its unprecedented combat versatility afforded the IAF great amount of operational flexibility. Over the years, this delta wing marvel slowly evolved into the combat backbone of the IAF and close to 1,000 fighters (which include all variants) have served in the IAF till date. In 1980-90s the MiG-21s constituted nearly 60 per cent of our combat fleet strength.
The T-77 may have flown its last sortie today, but its imprint on the ‘operational DNA’ of the IAF will continue for a long time. Gradually the other variants of the MiG-21 would also retire from service with Bison continuing for more than a decade or so.