New Delhi: In a press conference on Monday, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief BS Dhanoa refuted all claims questioning the capabilities of MiG21 Bison that was used to chase Pakistan choppers violating Indian airspace last week.
Addressing media questions on why Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthama was flying a MiG 21 Bison, which is considered an old, retiring aircraft, the IAF chief assured, “The Mig21 Bison is a capable aircraft, it has been upgraded, it has better radar, air-to air missiles and better weapons system.”
He further explained why MiG21 was deployed and said, “One is a planned operation in which you plan and carry out… But when an adversary strikes, every available aircraft goes in, irrespective of which aircraft it is. All aircraft are capable of fighting the enemy.”
Out of the six aircraft that the Indian Air Force used to chase away Pakistan Air Force (PAF) choppers, Sukhoi-30 MKIs, Mirage 2000s and MiG 29s were flown from other bases to intercept the imminent danger.
Before being shot, Wng Cmdr Abhinandan Varthaman downed a US-made F-16 Falcon deployed by the PAF to violate Indian airspace on February 27- in retaliation to India’s ‘pre-emptive air strikes’.
Abhinandan recorded the world’s first feat of downing an F-16 but was captured by Pakistani forces after his MiG21 Bison took a hit- and was released after spending 60 hours in captivity.
Soon after military spokespersons went agog over the Soviet-era MiG21 shooting down the formidable F-16 Falcon- thereby raising brows over the ‘ageing’ aircraft’s accomplishment. F-16 Falcon is no less than a titan in advanced weaponry, it can carry rockets, air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles and air-to-ship missiles along with a wide variety of bombs and also has a radar on-board.