Indian Air Force retires all MiG-27ML from its service

The Indian Air Force (IAF) retired its last squadron of upgraded MiG-27ML ‘Flogger’ tactical ground-attack aircraft on 27 December: a move that further reduces the service’s overall combat strength.

The service fielded three mixed squadrons of MIG-27ML and MiG-23UB swept wing single engine fighters, with an estimated 60 MiG-27 and 20 MiG-23 fighter jets. One of these squadrons is currently in frontline service at Jodhpur Airbase which closely borders Pakistani territory. The IAF now fully decommissioned MiG-27ML from the Air Force, but this will leave only a dozen MiG-27 fighters in service globally – the twelve fighters currently operated by the Kazakh Air Force.

Officials said that the IAF has “number-plated” the No. 29 ‘Scorpions’ Squadron based in Jodhpur, western India, until it is re-operationalised with new aircraft and manpower at a later stage. The move comes after the IAF retired its other MiG-27ML squadron in December 2018.

Licence-built by India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), some 165 single-engine, ‘swing-wing’ MiG-27s entered IAF service from 1985.

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