So it seems after a long service, slowly but surely Mig-21 are going to retire. It all starts with "Operational Conversion Unit" from 2014.
This thread is/will be for the appreciation of Mig-21. Like any other plane it also had its share of controversies, issues, troubles, name calling but it served India well for 50 years and will serve for one more decade before fully withdrawn from services.
Please post all important links related to MIg-21 in this thread.
KOLKATA: The 'Young Ones' will finally shed the tag of flying the oldest supersonic fighter jet in the Indian Air Force's fleet. 'Young Ones' is the name given to the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) of the IAF, entrusted with providing the final phase of training to rookie pilots after they have earned their wings.
Based at present at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station in West Midnapore, the rookies now receive training in the MiG-21 FL (Type-77) aircraft that was inducted into the IAF nearly 50 years ago.
In the next few months, the OCU will get Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs) to convert the greenhorns into flying aces.
"What is important is that this is the start of the phase-out of the MiG-21s. These aircraft used to be the mainstay of the IAF and were flown the most. No wonder, most accidents in the IAF were attributed to these fighters that have one of the highest take-off and landing speeds in the world. We prefer to compare these aircraft with the Maruti - the most-spotted car on Indian roads. It would be no surprise if statistics revealed that the largest number of road accidents involved these cars.
"This wouldn't mean that there was anything wrong with the cars. However, the MiG-21s have served the IAF well and it's time to phase them out," a senior IAF official said.
The ministry of defence had set 2014 as the target year for the phase-out.
The largest number of MiG-21s is based in the eastern and northeastern sector. With strategic concerns shifting focus from Pakistan to China in the last few years, Delhi has realized the need to replace these with more advanced ones. Su-30 MKI aircraft have already been stationed at the IAF base in Tezpur. "The OCU will fondly remember the MiG-21s due to its long association with the aircraft. For those who mastered the art of flying the MiG-21 swear by the capability.
The cigar shaped aircraft is designed to achieve speeds of Mach 2 and are extremely manoeuvreable in the sky - a prime factor that earned it the reputation of being one of the best interceptors in the world.
"However, this is not a fit aircraft to train in. The take-off speed of the trainer aircraft that the rookies fly before moving to OCU are nothing compared to the MiG-21s. Moreover, this aircraft doesn't possess the superior avionics that modern aircraft have. The AJTs will actually help in providing better training," another official said. It is probably apt that the Young Ones are the first to phase out the MiGs.
The OCU may be a training unit but comprise some of the best pilots in the IAF. It was the OCU that operated from Jaisalmer with Hunters during the Battle of Longewala in the 1971 Indo-Pak War and decimated Pakistani tanks.