New Delhi, September 20 (KMS): The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to retire its MiG-21 squadron that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was a part of when his aircraft was shot down by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in February 2019.
The Srinagar-based squadron, ‘Sword Arms’ is one of IAF’s four remaining squadrons of ageing MiG-21 fighter jets.
The No. 51 Squadron is to be retired by the end of September, “as per the plan”, media reports quoting Indian defence sources said. The remaining three squadrons of MiG-21 will be phased out by 2025, they said.
On February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down an Indian MiG-21 aircraft and captured Abhinandan after he invaded the Pakistani territory. The next day, Islamabad announced his release in a gesture of goodwill widely hailed by the international community.
The MiG-21 jets were inducted into IAF over four decades ago and many of these planes were lost in crashes. The Soviet-era Russian fighter jets have been in news in the last several years for multiple crashes causing death of pilots.