The retirement of the last squadron of MiG-27s from Indian Air Force (IAF) has further reduced the overall strength of the service, with no immediate fix in sight. On Friday, the last 43 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27MLs (“Flogger Js”) in the IAF’s arsenal, the remnants of 165 machines license-produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) were mothballed. Their removal from the IAF’s order of battle further reduces the number of combat Aircraft in the IAF’s arsenal, leaving a significantly capability deficit in comparison to aircraft fielded by India’s immediate rivals, China and Pakistan.
Tellingly, however, the retirement of these venerable, Soviet-era, single-engined, swing-wing fighter-bombers, marks a doctrinal shift away from delineating combat aircraft by role. India is following the global trend of equipping air units with machines which can fulfill a variety of roles. Acquisition of multi-role aircraft has been a Chinese goal, which has disdained fighter-bombers. Read More
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