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IAF flying 44-year-old MiG-21,IAF Chief Dhanoa

NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa has questioned why India is flying aircraft that are over four decades old when no one drives even cars of that vintage.

“We are still flying MiG-21 which is 44 years old but nobody driving cars of that vintage,” Air Chief Dhanoa said at a seminar in New Delhi.

He added, “The fifth-generation fighters are a reality and the next generation fighters are already on the drawing board. Can we afford a victory with such losses? If there is no war, we cannot wait for indigenous technology to replace obsolete warfighting equipment.”

“Neither will it be prudent to import every defence equipment from abroad. Today, I can still fly the MiG-21 MF aircraft which is almost 44 years old. I’m sure none of you are driving a car of that vintage,” the Indian Air Chief added.

Often dubbed “flying coffins”, at least 170 MiGs have been lost in accidents over the past decade. The Russian-made MiG-21 joined the IAF in 1973-74.

“Over 95 percent of the components required for the overhauling are made in India. The Russians are not flying the MiGs but we are because we have overhauling facilities,” he added.

In February, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s MiG-21 had been shot down by the Pakistan Air Force during an aerial dog fight between the two countries.

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