In yet another massive morale boost for the nation from the IAF, India's Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa flew three solo sorties of MiG-21 T-96 fighter aircraft in Sulur, Tamil Nadu on Friday.
In the magnificent video, Air Chief Dhanoa is seen taxiing the MiG-21 T-96 fighter aircraft from the hangars to the runway, then making a clean takeoff and later, an inch-perfect landing. In a thrilling moment, he is also seen saluting from the cockpit as he is about to leave terra-firma.
In another video, one from before the sortie, Air Chief Dhanoa is seen signing the mission log, being briefed, meeting the technicians who maintain the machine, performing copious inspections on his craft including the use of a flashlight to check the air-intakes, before finally taking his place inside the cockpit and heading for takeoff.
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa has more than 2000 hours of flying experience on the machine. The Indian Air Force has shared pictures from the sortie under the title 'leading from front'.
Here are some pictures:
The Air Chief Marshal's sortie aboard a MiG-21 comes little over two months after Wing Commander Abhinandan piloted a craft from the same family - the MiG-21 Bison - in the fierce aerial battle in the Nowshera skies and shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16. The Wing Commander's feat was especially remarkable seeing as the Russia-made MiG-21 is almost two decades older than the US-made F-16.
Consequently, the Air Chief Marshal was asked why the MiG-21 Bison was used in Pakistan's aerial incursion when he said:
"Mig 21 Bison is in our inventory why will we not use it? I will not comment on the ongoing operation".
He went on to give a detail explanation on the use of MiG-21 Bison by listing out the upgraded feature of the aircraft.
"Mig 21 Bison is capable and has been upgraded. It is not the old MiG-21 bis. It has got a better weapon system, better radars, better air to air missiles, and radar warning receivers, whatever it takes to make it 3rd generation to 3.5 generation or so. So, this is an upgraded aircraft. We fight with all the aircraft in our inventory. And remember the initiative is with the adversary".