Legendary MiG-21 Bison fighter jets bid adieu for Indian Air Force with final flight; netizens react
The MiG-21 Bison shared the sky with the Su-30 MKI, underlining the changing face of the IAF. The retirement of the MiG-21 Bison makes way for India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark-1A jets.
The skies above Uttarlai town in Barmer, Rajasthan on Tuesday (October 31) witnessed a historic moment as the Indian Air Force's No. 4 squadron's MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft, which served as the backbone of the IAF for many years, took its final flight. The flight marked the end of an era and signified the transition occurring within the Indian Air Force.
The MiG-21 Bison shared the sky with the Su-30 MKI, underlining the changing face of the IAF. The retirement of the MiG-21 Bison makes way for India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark-1A jets. The IAF currently operates nearly 50 MiG-21s across three different squadrons, and a well-structured plan has been devised to systematically phase out these aging aircraft.
Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary provided insights into this transition, explaining that the MiG-21s are slated to be completely retired by 2024. "We will replace the MiG-21 squadrons with the LCA Mark-1A. The induction of the LCA Mark-1A will bridge the gap left by the outgoing MiG-21s," he mentioned.
The MiG-21s have played a pivotal role in India's aerial combat strength, with nearly 870 of these fighters once in service after being acquired by the IAF in the early '60s. However, the aircraft's service history has been marred by significant safety concerns.
As the MiG-21 Bison takes its final bow, social media has been abuzz with mixed emotions. On X (formerly Twitter), users expressed their sentiments, with one reflecting on the MiG-21's historic role: "MiG-21, once one of the world's most formidable fighter planes in the '70s, is retiring. It played a pivotal role during the 1971 war, bombing many cities in Pakistan. Everything comes with an expiry date. Tejas will be replacing the MiG fleet with more robust capabilities."
Another user fondly noted, "Farewell to the MiG-21 Bison! It's always a poignant moment when a legendary aircraft takes its final flight. Exciting times await with the induction of the LCA Mark-1A, marking a new chapter for the Indian Air Force."
The retirement of the MiG-21 Bison serves as a symbol of the Indian Air Force's journey toward modernization and its commitment to adopting advanced indigenous aircraft technology for the nation's defense.