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IAF moving Su-30s to ex-MiG-21 squadron

The Indian Air Force is seeking to withdraw all Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Bison aircraft from service in 2025. (Indian Air Force)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is transferring Sukhoi Su-30MKIs from other operational squadrons to ensure that a former Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 squadron remains in active service.

On 31 October the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the IAF's No 4 Squadron (Oorials) was converting from MiG-21s to Su-30MKIs.

A senior officer in the IAF told Janes that the Su-30MKIs re-equipping No 4 Squadron are not newly acquired aircraft. “These aircraft have been taken from other operational squadrons in the air force to re-equip No 4 Squadron,” the officer said.

Janes understands that this was done by transferring several aircraft, personnel, and associated support equipment from other units to No 4 Squadron. According to Janes inventory data, the IAF operated 14 squadrons with Su-30MKIs until No 4 Squadron began the transition to Sukhois.

The conversion of No 4 Squadron now increases that number to 15 squadrons, albeit with the same pooled strength of aircraft. According to Janes inventory data, the IAF has 263 Su-30MKIs on charge.

“We cannot disclose the exact number of Su-30MKIs transferred to No 4 Squadron. What we can say is that No 4 Squadron is currently operational,” the officer said. “Personnel within No 4 Squadron not qualified for operations on the Su-30MKI have been transferred to the IAF's two remaining MiG-21 Bison squadrons.”

The remaining Bison squadrons include No 3 Squadron (Cobras) at Nal-Bikaner and No 23 Squadron (Panthers) at Suratgarh, according to Janes All the World's Air Forces. Both squadrons operate with the IAF's Western Air Command, facing Pakistan.


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