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IAF Still Flying Obsolete MiG-21 for Air Defence: Indian Air Chief Dhanoa

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NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa has criticised the air force’s decision to continue using 40-year-old MiG-21 aircraft and said that in this age people do not even drive vintage cars on the roads.

Speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, Air Chief Dhanoa said that, “The Indian Air Force is still flying 44-year-old MiG-21 while nowadays no one even drives a car that old.”

He further said, “Fifth-generation fighter jets are now a reality and work has already been initiated on designing and producing the next generation fighters.” He added, “Can we score a victory with such losses? If we are not in a state of war then we cannot just keep waiting for indigenous technology to replace IAF’s outdated war equipment.”

Dhanoa admitted that it would not be wise to import all kinds of defence equipment from abroad as it could prove costly. He said that though he could still fly the old MiG-21 aircraft but the technology was obsolete. The Russian-manufactured MiG-21 was commissioned by the IAF in 1973-74.

Meanwhile, Air Chief Dhanoa said that IAF has been using the MiG-21 aircraft because 95 per cent of components needed to overhaul the aircraft are being made in India. It merits mention here that even Russia does not use these old fighter aircraft due to its outdated technology.

On February 27, IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s MiG-21 was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force during a dogfight after tensions between the two neighbouring countries escalated due to unrest in Indian occupied Kashmir.

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