Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa took the oldest variant of the Soviet-era MiG-21 fighter jet for a spin in the skies above Sulur near Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore. Flying solo in three of the five sorties, the Air Force chief took the MiG-21 through some spectacular aerial moves on clear summer skies over the last three days. The MiG-21 Type 96 entered service in 1973-74.
Though Air Force chiefs have flown fighters in the past as a gesture to boost morale, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa's move comes in the backdrop of the ageing jet shooting down a far superior F-16 of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in an aerial combat on the Line of Control (LoC) in February this year.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa undertook two sorties on the two-seater trainer version of the aircraft and followed it up with three solo flights on Mig-21 Type 96, the oldest variant of the aircraft.
The Air Force chief had commanded the 17 squadron (flying Type 96) during the Kargil operations.
The shooting down of an F-16 by an IAF MiG-21 was praised as a major achievement even though PAF is yet to acknowledge that it had taken a hit during the dogfight.
The MiG-21 flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had shot down the F-16 which was part of a large package of PAF fighters trying to cross the border in Jammu and Kashmir to drop bombs at military installations in retaliation of the IAF's bombing of a terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot.
The MiG-21 flown by Wing Commander Varthaman was a modernised variant of the fighter, called the MiG-21 Bison.
(With inputs from IANS)
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.