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Another MIG 21 Squadron Will Be Phased Out

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 02-12-2023
Another MIG 21 Squadron Will Be Phased Out Defence 5 min read

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has retired one of its three remaining squadrons of the aging MiG-21 fighters. The No. 4 Squadron based at Uttarlai in Rajasthan has phased out the latest MiG-21 Bisons. 

  • These aircraft will gradually be replaced by the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) Mk-1A aircraft. The IAF had already phased out the Bisons of the Srinagar-based No. 51 Squadron a year ago. 

About MiG-21 Bisons

  • The No. 4 Squadron has operated the MiG-21 since 1966, but it is now being re-equipped with the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft. 
  • After this, only three squadrons of the MIG 21 Bison planes will remain in service and will be phased out by 2025, with one squadron being retired each year. The two remaining squadrons, based at Bikaner and Suratgarh in Rajasthan, will also be phased out by 2025. A squadron typically consists of 16 to 18 fighter planes.
  • The MiG-21 Bison aircraft were spotted for the last time in the skies of Uttarlai in Barmer district of Rajasthan, marking an end of an era. 
  • The air force received its first single-engine MiG-21 in 1963 and inducted 874 Soviet-origin supersonic fighters to bolster its combat potential. 

Problem with MiG-21

  • Over 400 MiG-21s have crashed, resulting in the deaths of almost 200 pilots in the past 60 years. 
  • These planes have crashed more often than any other fighter planes because they formed the bulk of the fighter fleet in the IAF's inventory for a long time, and the air force had to keep its MiG-21 fleet flying longer than it would have liked due to delays in the induction of new aircraft.
  • The Soviet Union designed the MiG series of fighter jets, which India inducted in 1963, for a total of 874 planes. 
  • However, more than 400 MiG-21s have been involved in accidents that have claimed the lives of around 200 pilots during the last six decades. 
  • One of the main reasons for the high rates of crashes is the largest number of planes in the IAF. The IAF has been forced to fly the Mig-21 despite the fact that it has outlived its age.

LCA Mk-1As Will Replace the MiG-21

  • The LCA Mk-1As, which will replace the MiG-21s, will be inducted by the IAF next year onwards. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has the capacity to build 16 LCA Mk-1As every year in Bengaluru, and a new production line in Nashik will help the firm ramp up production to a total of 24 jets. 
  • The first Mk-1A will be delivered to the IAF in February 2024, and the last of the 83 on order by 2027-28. In early October, the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, announced plans to order 97 more LCA Mk-1As.
  • Now, the government plans to replace the MiG-21 plane with various versions of the indigenously developed Tejas fighter aircraft.


Answer: In 1963

Answer: Soviet Union

Answer: LCA Mk-1As

Answer: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)

Answer: Barmer, Rajasthan
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