New Delhi: The Indian Air force, plagued with accidents and a dwindling fleet strength will phase out three more squadrons of Mig-21 (Known as ‘Flying Coffins’ for fatal accidents) and aging Mig-27 fighter jets in the current year.
Top defence sources said that while three squadrons, 18 aircraft each, will be pulled out due to the end of their life cycle, an additional squadron of the Su-30 fighter aircraft is expected. The planes – MiG 21s and MiG 27s, were bought from Russia in the 60s and 70s.
Air Force currently operates 35 squadron even though the sanctioned strength is 42. The sanctioned strength for a possible two way fight – Pakistan and China combined – is 45. While no one was willing to come on record about whether the force is content with the 36 Rafales instead of the earlier 126, a senior official said “At least in this government we are getting 36. The UPA was there for 10 years and nothing was decided”.