Aiming to deal with the possibility of a two-front war with Pakistan and China, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has equipped its Adampur-based squadrons with upgraded version of MiG 29, which had played a significant role during Kargil war in 1999.
Situated at about 25 kms from Jalandhar, Adampur is country’s one of the oldest, largest and strategically most important airbase as it is close to both the neighbouring nations.
From Adampur airbase, which is home to two squadrons of MiG 29 upgraded version, Pakistan and Chinese borders are 100 km and 220 km away respectively.
Officials at Adampur Air Force Station said, ‘The base will be the first responder, in case a two-front war breaks out.’
On being asked about the importance of western command, Defence PRO Wing Commander AR Giri said, ‘Western Command is one of the most important commands as it will take care of both the sides. The number of airbases, the number of assets we have and the kind of training we are putting in are enough to face the two-front war.’
Strengthening the airspace capability, the IAF has overhauled its entire legacy MiG jets at Adampur base.
The updated jet has glass cockpit, air to air refueling system, enhanced fuel capacity and is compatible to carry all the latest missiles. In a way, it has become one of the best fighter aircraft in the globe.
A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic flight instrument displays, typically large LCD screens, rather than the traditional style of analog dials and gauges.
The IAF is struggling with depleting number of squadrons, standing at just 32 whereas authorised number of squadrons across the country is 42. With enhanced fuel capacity and air to air refueling system, the aircraft will be able to generate more sorties with the same number of aircraft by improving their maintenance and serviceability, aiming to overcome the shortfall.
With modern glass cockpit, as the air force warriors said, the fighter jet can take on and defeat current generation aircraft, including the Block 50 F-16, when properly flown.
IAF’s legacy aircraft were designed primarily to intercept air targets and achieve air superiority but the upgraded one will gain the ability to attack ground and sea targets at any time of day, night and in any weather conditions.
‘With upgradation, the ranges of the aircraft have improved a lot. And also with air to air refueling, we will be able to cover a large amount of distance in comparison to our legacy aircraft. In our legacy aircraft, we were restricted to certain dimensions. With this aircraft, we are very flexible and depending on the situation we can change ourselves and strike the enemy,’ said Karan Kohli, Flight Lieutenant at Adampur Air Force Station, who also flies MiG 29.
The two squadrons of this base got customised-modernisation while the upgradation of Jamnagar-based Squadron is going on and would be completed by the end of this year.
MiG 29 is one of the few jets in the world which has capability of taking off vertically. In the Indian context, it is the only one. The thrust ratio to the weight of this jet is more.
MiG 29s were inducted in three phases in Indian Air Force squadrons, starting 1986 under emergency purchase from Soviet Union.
By: UNI India
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