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|Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:15 am Post subject: India to gift 3 MiG-21s - to Russia
India’s reality will meet Russia’s nostalgia when Modi gifts Putin 3 MiG-21s
4 October, 2018
Russia, which buried the MiG-21 in 1985, has asked for 3 aircraft for demonstrations of vintage flying. India, which still uses it, has agreed to the gift.
The Russians stopped manufacturing the MiG-21 in 1985; the Indian Air Force (IAF) still flies it as one of its frontline fighter aircraft.
In one of the greatest ironies of aviation history, the Russians have asked for, and India has agreed to gift, three MiG-21s for the price of their cartage back to Moscow.
The gift is yet to be formally announced. IAF sources said that will depend on the ministry of external affairs because “this would be a government-to-government and not an air force-to-government deal”, as an IAF official explained.
Asked if the IAF was ready to release three aircraft, the official responded: “That can be done at any time.”
The IAF still flies more than 110 different variants of the MiG-21. Russia delivered the first aircraft to India in 1964. Probably no other fighter aircraft has been produced and exported in such a large number. The F-16 Fighting Falcon of the US would be second.
Of the three aircraft that the IAF proposes to release for the gifting, one is a Type-75 and the other two are Type-77s.
The Type-75 MiG-21bis was more suited to the air-defence role. The MiG-21 FL ‘Trishul’ that was retired by the IAF in December 2013 was used in both air-defence and ground-attack roles.
The aircraft is still flying for the IAF. It has outlived not just pilots, but also many short-lived nations. It is still flown by around 17 air forces in Africa and Asia.
But in the land of its birth, it was buried. Russia does not have a single MiG-21 that is airworthy. It has many aviation museums to commemorate its war-era flying machines that cannot fly.
So, it has turned to India. Can you please give us a few MiG-21s that can fly, it has asked. We need it for demonstrations of vintage flying.
Sure, India has responded. We still fly them to fight wars.