Reviewing The Mig-21 Used By The Indian Air Force

There is much debate in India that the MIG 21 is a flying coffin as a number have crashed and pilots killed. Before we accept this statement we must examine the MIG 21 in detail. This aircraft came into India when the Western powers had denied the IAF any comparative aircraft while arming Pakistan with the F-104(Star fighter).

Mr. Krishna Menon the defense minister in the fifties and early sixties accordingly approached the Russians and the deal for the MIG 21 was struck. The Russians also agreed to manufacture the plane in India and accordingly manufacture commenced at Nasik plant of



The MIG 21 was a Mach 2 + plane and could easily approach a supersonic speed. It was a versatile interceptor and was at that time the stock aircraft of the Soviet Air Force. The plane came to India with latest avionics and the IAF made it the work horse. In fact at one time 60% of the squadrons were equipped with the MIG 21 and obviously it stands to reason that the maximum flying was also done by the MIG’s.

 The MIGs entered the IAF in late fifties of the last century and are still

in service. They have been upgraded and will continue to serve with the IAF till 2022. The MIG has been constantly upgraded and the latest version is MIG 21 (BIS). The MIG did excellent service in the wars with Pakistan and was more than a match for the F-104 and F-15. It was however not used against China as the 1962 war saw no air action.


The MIG has been crashing. This makes headlines, but what is not known that the maximum flying (almost 60%) at one time was done by the MIG’s. There fore the chance of an air crash is that much more. It must be noted that per 100 hours of flying the MIG has a very low rate of attrition. It is a good machine but needs to be carefully handled.

The MIG is certainly not a coffin. It is a fine plane and will go into the sunset in a blaze of glory. The MIG has now been service for over 50 years. That’s a pretty long time and spans an era in the IAF

Article Written By Madan G Singh

An early retired Gp Capt from Air Force who is an Executive Director in the Corporate world. Loves to write fiction and articles. Published over 60 short stories and his novel" Romance of the Frontier" is published from Notion Books.His second novel is on way for publication. The author also has close to 10,000 articles on the b net with millions of views

Last updated on 04-07-2016 65 0

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