NEW DELHI :
After series of crashes, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to finally decommission its MiG-27s with the sole remaining squadron in Rajasthan's Jodhpur flying its last sortie this week.
A senior IAF officer said that the squadron of the seven MiG-27 fighters will have its last sortie from Jodhpur Air Base on December 27 and all the planes will thereafter decommissioned. "It will be history as no other country operates MiG-27 now," the officer said.
The MiG-27 ground strike aircraft, named 'Bahadur' in India, has had an impeccable track record in its more than three decades of glorious service to the nation. Procured in the 1980s from the then Soviet Union, the fighter jet has proved its worth in various operations, including Kargil, and earned rich accolades in numerous international exercises held in India.
The formidable strike aircraft has the single most powerful engine in the world and variable geometry wing which allows the pilot to change the wing sweep angle while flying as per the mission requirements to achieve optimum flying characteristics.
This swing wing fighter bomber was one of the main strike aircraft of the IAF.
"With its sophisticated avionics and weapon computers, it was capable of delivering a variety of loads in different modes of attack with immense precision," the officer said.
With good forward visibility and all around view, it could drop bombs, or fire rockets, precision munitions guided by TV/laser and also air-to-air missiles for self defence, thus making it a lethal and a potent weapon platform.
Its pilots proudly call themselves 'Swing Wingers' and have always vouched for the aircraft's precise weapon delivery and rapid acceleration.
The operational life of the aircraft has ended and recently many technical glitches were reported across the country.
On March 31, a MiG-27 fighter jet crashed in a village in Sirohi in Rajasthan when it was on a routine mission from Jodhpur. On September 4, another MiG-27 crashed near Jodhpur during a routine mission but both pilot and co-pilot had a miraculous escape.
After many such incidents, the IAF decided to phase the vintage fighters out.