MIG-21 BISON replaced

MIG-21 BISON, phased out to be replaced by Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark-1A jets

MIG-21 BISON phased out

Context  -The process of phasing out of MIG-21 BISON started by Indian air force will be Phased out by 2024,  by more modern and capable, indidigenously produced Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark-1A jets, thereby giving impetus to Make in india programme. India wants to become a big global player in international defence market and trade, with recent policy change allowing private companies to participate in defence production and trade but govt. controlled exports.

Why it has been phased out:

  1. Its safety record during the last 2 decades had been really bad, thus earning the unofficial nickname 'flying coffin'.
  2. Its mechanics was bad making it vulnerable to even making bird Collisions risky.
  3. Indian ambition to make it out in global market.


  1. It joined Indian airforce after indo-china war of 1962 & 1965.
  2. India started buying from soviet union because capitalist bloc countries supported Pakistan and penalized india by curbing defence sales because of india being part of non-aligned movement(NAM), which many western countries construed as being soft on soviet bloc or socialist bloc countries.
  3. As part of the deal, the Soviet Union offered India full transfer of technology and rights for local assembly
  4. In 1964, the MIG-21 became the first supersonic fighter jet to enter service with the IAF.
  5. It is the most produced fighter aircraft in aviation history.
IAF strength
  1. Indian Air Force (IAF) enters its 91st year,
  2. The IAF’s requisite authorised strength is 42 squadrons, and squadron numbers are only expected to rise to 35-36 by the middle of the 2030s.
  3. Currently down to just 31 fighter squadrons, making it roughly 18 fighters per squadron, the IAF’s predicament increases each year as combat aircraft retire

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