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IAF bids farewell to its most lethal and ‘Bahadur’ MiG-27 as it flies one last time

The MiG-29 UPG will be operated by the IAF and the Indian Navy will operate two squadrons of the MiG-29K/KUB off its aircraft carriers. (File photo: IAF)

The last of Indian Air Force’s (IAF) MiG-27 flew into the sunset at Jodhpur Air base, South West Air Command (SWAC) and entered the pages of history. The Russian origin aircraft was inducted in IAF in 1985 the IAF has flown 165 MiG-27 fighters and has been the backbone of ground attack fleet for the past four decades.

The decommissioning ceremony took off in the presence of the veteran air warriors along with serving air warriors in large numbers. Air Marshal SK Ghotia, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief SWAC presided over the ceremony.

With today’s decommissioning of the MiG-27, the number of IAF’s fighter squadron has gone down to 28 as compared to the authorised 42 squadrons to fight a two-front war with Pakistan and China.

The decommissioned MiG-27 was used by the IAF for its ground strike capability and has a sloping nose which helped in better visibility for the pilot, a very strong undercarriage and a sophisticated navigation-attack system. It also had the capability to deliver four-to-five tonnes of bombs on the enemy targets on the ground in day/night. Around 40 MiG-27 fighter aircraft were upgraded by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) with new avionics and were in service since 2006.

IAF has been gradually retiring the Russian MiG variants of fighters from service including the MiG-23 BN & MiG-23 MF and the pure MiG 27 have already retired earlier.

The MiG-29 UPG will be operated by the IAF and the Indian Navy will operate two squadrons of the MiG-29K/KUB off its aircraft carriers.

More about MiG-27

The aircraft was procured in the 1980s from the former Soviet Union and was used in various operations including Op-Parakram, and several national and international drills.

File photo: IAF

It has a single-engine which is the most powerful in the world and variable geometry wing. This wing allows the fighter pilot to change the wing sweep angle as per the mission requirements.

This helps in achieving maximum flying characteristics, making it one of the main strike aircraft.

Upgraded with the state of the art avionics and weapon computers, the MiG-27 has the capability to deliver different loads on ground targets with precision.

It has the capability to drop bombs, precision munitions guided by TV/laser and also air-to-air missiles for self-defence.

The pilots of the most lethal and a potent weapon platform call themselves ‘Swing Wingers’.

Why it has been decommissioned?

Every aircraft has a life and though it had been upgraded it has completed its operational life cycle. There have been several technical issues reported by the pilots.

ALSO READ | IAF’s lethal MiG-27 to bid adieu to the Indian sky on Friday after four decades

In March this year a MiG-27 fighter which was on a routine mission from Jodhpur had crashed. Again, in September, another MiG-27 had crashed when on a routine mission, and fortunately both pilot and co-pilot had bailed out.

Number 29 Squadron

This was raised in March 1958 at Air Force Station Halwara with Ouragan (Toofani) aircraft and it has been equipped with different aircraft including MiG 21 Type 77, MiG 21 Type 96, MiG 27 ML and MiG 27 Upgrade.

With Friday’s last sortie of the swing-wing fleet, the Squadron is slated to be number plated in March 2020.

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Source: Financial Express