The Indian Air Force will retire one of its four remaining squadrons, MiG-21 (Russian combat aircraft) fighter jets by 2022 September and the other three are scheduled to be phased out by 2025. The old MiG-21s will be replaced with newer fighter jets. Six MiG-21s have been lost in crashes in the last 20 months, killing five pilots. The IAF also plans to start the phasing out of the three squadrons of MiG-29 fighter jets in the next five years.
History of MiG-21s:
- The MiG-21s were supposed to be retired a long time ago but delays in induction of the LCA Tejas aircraft have forced the IAF to continue flying these planes.
- The air force received its first single-engine MiG-21 in 1963.
- The fighter jet has participated in many operations like Safed Sagar (Kargil, 1999), the operation of India in Pakistan in February 2019.
- Currently, the IAF has around 70 Mig-21 aircraft and 50 Mig-29 variants.