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Defence
MiG-27 retires in India
MiG-27 retires in India
© IAF

| Alexandre Rocchi

MiG-27 retires in India

The 29th Indian MiG-27 Squadron, “Scorpions”, exits its last MiG-27M on December 27, 2019. The Indian Air Force received a total of 165 MiG-27ML aircraft between 1985 and 1994 and had until to seven MiG-27 squadrons.

The Indian Air Force has withdrawn its last squadron of MiG-27 aircraft. The plane was officially decommissioned during a ceremony held at Jodhpur Air Base in Rajasthan, in northwest India, on December 27, 2019.

The last unit to operate this type of jet was 29th Squadron, the “Scorpions”. 35 years after being admitted into service, with the withdrawal of the MiG-27, India is one of the last air forces to separate from its variable geometry fighters, since only the air force from Kazakhstan still uses MiG-27... Although some rumors suggest that it is no longer used.

These planes were used by India for the first time to bomb high-altitude targets during the Kargil conflict, also known as the “glacier war” in 1999, with Pakistan. Besides, one of the aircraft was shot down but its pilot managed to eject itself before being made prisoner.

The IAF operated 165 MiG-27 fighters, about 40 of which were modernized by the state-owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in 2005. The 29th Jodhpur Squadron was the only air force unit to use the modernized MiG-27s. However, the aircraft has been questioned in the past two decades since IAF lost a dozen planes as a result of accidents.

The first 10 Indian MiG-27s were supplied by the Russian (Soviet at the time) factory in Irkutsk and 80 were supplied in kit form, to be assembled in India before the start of licensed production. The MiG-27 was known as Bahadur (valiant) within the IAF.

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