New Delhi: Russian origin aircraft of Indian Air Force – MiG-29, has got an upgrade and gained in strength and ferocity, giving the IAF a much-needed boost on the eve of Air Force day, when the Force is battling with aircraft shortage.
The aircraft – now capable of effecting mid-air refuelling – is compatible with latest missiles and can launch multi-dimensional attacks, Flight Lieutenant Karan Kohli, who is deployed at Adampur Air Force Station, said.
Update to ‘legacy version’
- Even in the previous ‘legacy version’, the aircraft played an important role as the Indian Air Force stamped its supremacy over the Pakistani force during the Kargil War of 1999.
- Last week, the upgraded MiG-29 showcased its combat capabilities at Admapur Air Force Station. The country will celebrate the Air Force day on Monday.
- “With the upgrade, as compared to previous ‘legacy version’ of the MiG-29 bought under emergency clause in early 1980s, the fighter jets are capable to give befitting response,” said an official, requesting anonymity, when asked about any possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.
- Kohli said that upgraded MiG-29 also has Multi-Functional Display (MFD) screen.
Upgraded MiG-29 employed in Punjab
- The strategically important Adampur Air Force Station, which is around 100 kms from Pakistan and 250 km away from China borders, is now equipped with upgraded MiG-29.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) has three squadrons of MiG-29 fighter jets in operation, two of them at the Adampur Air Force Station. One squadron comprises 16-18 aircraft.
MiG-29 increased the IAF’s power: Kohli
- Kohli said that the force now has a combat aircraft which is flexible and can manoeuvre every situation so that IAF pilots can change their position and strike the enemy.
- He also said that the fighter plane has the capability of taking off vertically, which has “increased the IAF’s power a lot”.
- The upgraded MiG-29 aircraft can take off within five minutes of spotting a hostile jet trying to enter the Indian airspace and destroy it, he said.
Legacy of MiG-29
- In the 1999 Kargil War, the Adampur station played an important role in destroying enemy fortifications located at heights of 15,000 feet and above.
- In the 1971 war also, the Adampur base was an operationally dynamic base for the air campaign against Pakistan.
- In the 1965 Indo-Pak war too, Adampur proved to be nemesis for the Pakistani misadventures as several squadrons inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.
Shortage of aircrafts
- On September 12, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa had said the force was reeling under a severe shortage of fighter aircraft. The IAF chief had said the force currently has 31 squadrons of fighter jets against the sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons.
- “Even when we do have 42 squadrons, we will be below the combined numbers of two of our regional adversaries,” he had said.
(With inputs from PTI)