IAF bids adieu to MiC-21 T-77

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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