Dec 30, 2017
India retires MiG-21 MiG-27ML Fleet
At the Nal airbase in Rajasthan, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa flew the last sortie of the Hawkeyes, 108 Squadron, bringing a glorious end to the reign of the MiG-21 T-96 aircraft, flown by the squadron.
This comes days after former IAF chief Fali Homi Major flew the last sortie of the Mi-8 helicopter in Bengaluru before the choppers stopped flying.
"It is in the IAF tradition to have the senior-most pilot fly the oldest machine while bidding adieu," said an IAF official.
The 108 Squadron is being 'number-plated', which means it would remain dormant for the time being and would be re-formed to produce new aircraft.
In Hashimara in West Bengal, the last MiG-27 ML roared for the last time in its farewell flight.
Named Bahadur, the swing-wing MiG-27 ML has the single most powerful engine in the world with a variable geometry wing that allows a pilot to change the wing sweep angle while flying as per the mission requirements.
The aircraft, which was flown by the 22 Squadron, is also being number-plated.
Though the MLs have retired, they are not the last swing-wing aircraft in service. Some of the MiG-27s were upgraded to MiG-27 UPG, which will continue to fly.
The MiG-27 UPGs are based in Jodhpur.