MiG-27 of the Indian Air ForceCredit: Reuters

Bringing an end to the 'swing-wing' fighters in the Indian Air Force (IAF), MiG-27 strike aircraft will be formally retired from the service on December 31. The last remaining squadron of MiG-27 is stationed in Jodhpur. 

According to a report by the Tribune, serving and retired personnel of IAF who have been engaged with the aircraft, are likely to attend the event at No 29 Squadron, also called Scorpions, at Air force station, Jodhpur. Codenamed 'Bahadur' in India, MiG-27 has had an impeccable track record in its more than three decades of glorious service to the nation.

Inducted in IAF in 1984, MiG-27 was a dedicated ground attack aircraft and became the main strike aircraft of IAF. During the time of its induction, it had the most powerful single-engine in the world. Over four decades, the aircraft served seven operational squadrons and other combat training and tactics-evaluation establishments.

Swing Wing fighters

Swing wing is a simpler term used for a variable-sweep wing airplane wing that may be swept back and then returned to its original straight position during flight. The variable geometry wing or swing-wing allows the pilot to change the wing sweep angle while flying as per the mission requirements to achieve optimum flying characteristics. Multiple aircraft in the past have been manufactured with swing-wings including US-made Grumman F-14 Tomcat, Russian made Su-24 and MiG-27 and UK made Tornado F3.

Loaded with sophisticated avionics and weapon computers, it played a significant role in the Kargil war by dropping bombs, rockets, precision munitions guided by TV/laser and also fire air-to-air missiles for self-defence.

MiG-27 of Indian Air force
MiG-27 of Indian Air forcePhoto Credits: Reuters

The IAF has already decommissioned its older variant MiG-27 ML in December 2017 when the aircraft roared over Air force station Hashimara for the last time. State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) manufactured 165 of these aircraft and assessing the requirement for its upgrade, HAL also upgraded some of these aircraft to MiG-27 UPG with enhanced combat capability and extended service life.

Notably, similar to MiG-21, India is among the last nations to operate MiG-27 in its Air force. The remaining squadrons of MiG-21 Bison are expected to be decommissioned in the coming four years.