Air Enthusiast 1973-07
P.Chopra - India and the MiG-21
Первый МиГ-21М был передан индийским ВВС 14 февраля 1973г.
The first MiG-21M (C1532) which was handed over to the IAF at Nasik on 14 February 1973.
Several types of camouflage were applied to MiG-21FL fighters of the IAF during the Indo-Pakistan conflict of 1971. Aircraft sporting olive green and dark earth finish such as that seen above were deployed at a number of airfields in the southern sector for air defence and escort duties. This particular aircraft (C746) is seen with centreline 108 Imp gal (490 I) drop tank and underwing launching shoes for K-13A infra-red homing AAMs.
The GP-9 gun pack, seen fitted, is of Soviet design and was installed on IAF MiG-21FL fighters at Indian Base Repair Depots. It houses a twin-barrelled 23-mm GSH-23 cannon which allegedly offers a weight of fire equivalent to that of three 30-mm Aden cannon for a weight equivalent to only one of the British weapons. MiG-21FLs fitted with this pack usually also mounted a pair of K-13A infra-red homing missiles seen attached to the underwing launching shoes. The K-13A is manufactured under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics.
Three entirely different finishes are sported by the three MiG-21FLs of the same squadron seen below. Camouflage was applied at unit level and differed appreciably in style from aircraft to aircraft, no standard pattern being established. Some aircraft had a light olive overall (upper surface) finish with zebra-striping of a darker green.
This view of an IAF MiG-21FL (C772) endows the fighter with a deceptively chunky appearance.
An early production MiG-21FL (C520) landing.
MiG-21FLs and tandem two-seat MiG-21Us at dispersal. The broader-chord fin and "acorn" type parabrake housing characterising the later production version of the trainer may be clearly seen.
The particular MiG-21FL illustrated below (C1111) flew 28 combat sorties in the Eastern theatre of operations between 4 and 15 December 1971, its missions ranging from escort and counterair to army close support. On its second sortie on 4 December, this particular aircraft destroyed a PAF F-86 Sabre with a K-13A missile over the Tezgaon air base, and later flew 11 sorties with 1.102-lb (500-kg) bombs against the Tezgaon and Kurmitola airfields. It was responsible for the destruction of three "major targets" (an ammunition factory near Dacca, a fortified bunker and a radio installation) on 8, 9 and 10 December, and it flew close support missions for Indian columns advancing in Rajendragunj, Javantiapur, Bliairabazar, the Lalmai hills and the Mainamati Cantonment.
A MiG-21U alias Type 66 - 600 series, two of which are on the strength of most first-line MiG-21FL squadrons of the IAF for refresher training, checks, etc. It will be noted that the MiG-21U sports an IAF roundel both fore and aft of the wing whereas the single-seat MiG-21FL normally has one fuselage roundel on each side but this can be positioned either forward or aft of the wing.
The ejector seats being removed from a tandem two-seat MiG-21U for servicing. This version of the MiG-21U, known to the IAF as the Type 66 - 600 series and distinguished by its broader-chord vertical tail surfaces and "acorn" parabrake fairing at the base of the rudder, is equipped with a damage simulator which is operated by the instructor from the rear seat. During the MiG-21 conversion course, IAF pilots normally fly between two and four sorties on the tandem seater, these being devoted primarily to instrument flying and aerobatics.