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Aero India 2023

IAF's No. 4 Squadron in Barmer converts from MiG-21 to SU-30 MKI


NEW DELHI (PTI): The No. 4 Squadron of the IAF in Rajasthan is being re-equipped with the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft, marking the end of an era for the MiG-21 Bison aircraft at Air Force Station, Uttarlai where it was flown for the last time in the skies of Barmer district a day earlier, officials have said.

The squadron has been operating the MiG-21 since 1966, they said.

The conversion of this squadron to Su-30 MKI implies that the IAF now operates only two squadrons of the MiG-21. The IAF remains committed to phasing out the MiG-21 aircraft by 2025, the defence ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Marking the end of an era, the MiG-21 Bison aircraft were seen for the last time in the skies of Uttarlai in Barmer district in Rajasthan on October 30," it said.

The MiG-21 Bison flew alongside the Su-30 MKI to mark the occasion. During the ceremony, personnel from all three services were present.

The MiG-21 Squadron has served the country for approximately six decades and has significantly contributed to the war effort during the India-Pakistan conflicts.

The squadron known as "OORIALS" has been operating the MiG-21 since 1966 and is now being re-equipped with the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft. This change signifies the unwavering commitment of the Indian Air Force to modernise and protect the skies of the nation, the statement said.

"The Number 4 Squadron (Oorials) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) based at Air Force Station Uttarlai (Barmer) is converting from the MiG-21 to the Su-30 MKI, marking a watershed moment in the history of the squadron which was operating the MiG-21 since 1966," the statement said.

The MiG-21 was the first supersonic fighter in service of the IAF and was inducted in 1963. It has participated in all major conflicts since then.

"This change signifies the unwavering commitment of the Indian Air Force to modernise and at the same time protect the skies of the nation," it said.

The formal induction of the new aircraft was marked by a ceremony at Air Force Station Uttarlai on October 30.

The ceremony featured a combined flypast by the MiG-21 and Su-30 MKI, which marked the last MiG-21 sortie for the squadron. The ceremony was witnessed by the various military and civilian dignitaries in attendance, officials said.

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