IAF Current Affairs - 2020

MiG 27 Retire: Last Squadron of fighter jet Decommissioned

The MiG-27, which is known to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) as the ‘Flogger’ and to Indian Air Force (IAF) as ‘Bahadur’, flew its last sortie in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. After this flight, IAF bid adieu to its squadron of seven aircraft as all were decommissioned. The last MiG-27 unit to operate the jet, Number 29 Squadron, bid farewell to jet in Jodhpur Air Base where the aircraft participated in a flypast.

About MiG-27

The ace attacker was commissioned into Indian Air Force in 1985 and remained an integral part of Indian Air Force’s combat strength since then. The lethal aircraft, for their role during the 1999 Kargil War, earned the nickname ‘Bahadur’ from IAF pilots.

The swing-wing fighter has been the backbone of IAF’s ground-attack fleet for several decades. The upgraded variant of this last swing-wing fighter fleet has been pride of IAF strike fleet since 2006. All other variants, like MiG-23 BN and MiG-23 MF and pure MiG-27 have already retired from IAF.

This fleet earned its glory in historic Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan, when it delivered rockets and bombs with accuracy on enemy positions. It actively participated in ‘Operation Parakram’.

Reason for Decommissioning: For 35 years, MiG-27, a curiously designed fighter-bomber has been at forefront of IAF’s attack fleet. However, while MiG-27 had been backbone of IAF for the past three decades, the jets were also infamous for routine accidents throughout their career with Indian Air Force. In three decades plus of operations, at least a squadron’s strength (18 aircraft) are thought to have been lost with several fatal injuries to pilots. Two MiG-27s have been lost in crashes this year alone.

The Number 29 Squadron

The Squadron was raised on 10 March 1958, at Air Force Station Halwara with Ouragan (Toofani) aircraft. Over the years, Squadron has been equipped with numerous types of fighters like MiG-21 Type 77, MiG-21 Type 96, MiG-27 ML and MiG-27 upgrade. It is the only unit in IAF operating MiG-27 upgrades. The upgraded version has also participated in numerous national and international exercises, because because of its survivability.

As all seven aircraft of this squadron were decommissioned on 27 December 2019 from Jodhpur Air Base, the squadron itself is supposed to be ‘number-plated’ in March 2020 whereby it will cease to operate for the moment.

India sign Rs.200 crore deal with Russia to acquire Strum Ataka

India has signed Rs.200 crore deal with Russia for acquiring Strum Ataka anti-tank missile for its fleet of Mi-35 attack choppers of Indian Air Force (IAF). This deal comes in wake of an IAF’s attempt to keep itself battle-ready in situations like post-Balakot aerial strikes.

Key Highlights

This Rs.200 crore deal for Strum Ataka anti-tank missile would give an added capability to Mi-35 attack choppers of IAF to take out enemy tanks and other armoured elements.

Mi-35s are set to be replaced with Apache gunships being acquired from United States (US) and slated to be delivered from August onwards.

Emergency Clause: For more than a decade India has been trying to acquire Russian missiles but the deal has been signed under emergency clauses through which missiles would be supplied within 3 months of contract signing.

What is Emergency Clause?

Within few weeks after 14 February Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, emergency powers were given to Indian Defence forces and India started increasing vigil at borders with Pakistan.

Under, emergency powers given to three services, they can procure equipment of their choice within 3 months at a cost of about Rs.300 crore per case.

IAF has emerged as front runner in terms of weapon acquisition under emergency procurement, followed by Indian Army.

Under emergency provisions IAF has acquired also acquired Spice-2000 stand-off weapon system along with a number of spare and air to air missile deals with multiple counties to equip itself for sudden war.