First MIG 21 M aircraft handed over to IAF

Published - February 15, 2023 06:37 am IST

Nasik, Feb. 14: The first Hindustan Aeronautics-built MIG 21-M aircraft was handed over to the Indian Air Force by the Minister for Defence Production, Mr. V.C. Shukla at a ceremonial function held at Ozar, about 24 kilometres from here to-day. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal O.P. Mehra received the aircraft. The Maharashstra Chief Minister Mr. V.P. Naik presided. MIG 21-M which is a modified version of the MIG aircraft has a greater striking power. This versatile aircraft was delivered months ahead of schedule by the HAL. Mr. Shukla said that to-day was a historic day in the life of the nation when the country had built and handed over to its Air Force one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. “The handing over marked the first stage of efforts at self-reliance in defence needs,” he added. He was confident that such aircraft would be manufactured indigenously within the next two years. He was grateful to the USSR for helping the production of the aircraft. According to the schedule the aircraft should have been delivered in 1973-74. But the HAL had delivered the MIG 21-M months ahead. The HAL had finalised new production schemes and indigenisation of production of aircraft components and parts, he said. Mr. V.P. Naik said that Maharashtra had always played its role in fulfilling defence needs. This was possible thanks to the hard work, competence and skill of the 6,000 persons working in the HAL, he said. In 1965, Mr. Naik recalled, when Britain refused to send spare parts for defence equipment, Maharashtra assured the late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri that the State would make them for the country.

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