By Express News Service
HYDERABAD: Amidst the controversy towering over the MiG-21 Bison, following a recent crash — third in this year, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said that there is a plan to phase out the ageing fleet and substituting them with modern fighter jets.
However, he added that these vintage MiG-21s are not “flying coffins” and in fact, every plane at the academy is fit to fly.
The recent crash of a MiG-21 Bison– that took life of a pilot, in Gwalior has turned the spotlight on India’s longest-serving fighter plane. Talking about it, the chief said that the planes do not become accident prone just because of their age and there can be many more reasons for the accident. However, he added that MiG-21 will be phased out in a planned way very soon.
The Chief who was at the Air Force Academy (AFA) Dundigal, on Saturday to mark the successful completion of pre-commissioning training of flight cadets of various branches of Indian Air Force (IAF) also briefed the media about India’s position with China.
“It has been a year since the Galwan attack and since then we have made many strategic agreements, there has definitely been an increase in the deployment at key positions and meanwhile talks are happening on diplomatic fronts to resolve the conflict,” he said.
Talking about the timeline of the induction of Rafale, he added that by 2022 the Rafale will be added to the Indian fleet. At the Combined Graduation Parade (CGP), which saw commissioning of 161 new officers the chief awarded ‘President’s Commission’ to the graduating officers.
The ceremony included presentation of ‘wings’ and ‘brevets’ to the newly-commissioned officers. The IAF chief also awarded ‘wings’ to officers of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard on successful completion of their flying training at AFA.
The event also had an aerobatic display by the famous Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team, Sarang Helicopter Display Team, Pilatus PC-7 trainer and Para jumping by the Akash Ganga Team.