The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Thursday flew solo in Mig-21 fighter jet, the oldest fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force (IAF) inventory.
IAF Chief Dhanoa flew the Mig-21 Type 96 aircraft from the IAF base at Uttarlai, a forward base in Rajasthan, where he began a three-day visit, his first to a forward operational base as the IAF chief, the defense ministry announced Thursday.
Dhanoa is visiting the forward air base in the western sector to assess operational readiness and review the morale of the personnel stationed there, the statement said.
The IAF chief’s flight in the aircraft, that became infamous as ‘flying coffins’, lasted about half an hour long, said officials.
The IAF Chief has flown the same type of aircraft during Kargil Operations, in which he carried out many night strike missions in the mountainous terrain.
Before Dhanoa, his predecessors, Air Chief Marshals A.Y. Tipnis and Dilbagh Singh had flown the Russian-made aircraft while commanding the service.
Tipnis, who headed the IAF from December 1998 to December 2001, had said he flew the aircraft solo to send a message that it was safe.