Keeping Old MiGs Flying


This interesting piece over at Asian Skies, Flight Global’s blog on all things flight-related in Asia,  highlights the difficulities the Indian Air Force is having in keeping its fleet of Soviet-built fighters, transports and tankers flying due to their aging parts.

It lists IAF RfPs (tenders) for everything from Migg-21 tires to An-32 lugs and wheel hubs for its IL-76 tankers and makes the point that the increasing difficulty in keeping these jets flying may be pushing India toward more purchases of Western aircraft.

All air forces (and vintage car owners, for that matter) face issues finding spares for older equipment. India, however, seems to be particularly challenged, with a diversity of aircraft types  – many with overlapping capabilities – and a number of airframes that have served well beyond their intended service life, particularly the MiG-21s. A glance at the IAF’s tenders underlines its urgent need to obtain new types.

Remember, the IAF just eliminated the MiG-35 from moving ahead in the MMRCA contest in favor of the European built Typhoon and Rafale. All this makes me think back to yesterday’s post on the Free Libyan Air Force flying MiG-21s; I’ve got to say, it’s a testament to the rebels tenacity and tech skills to see them flying any fast jets at all.

  • jamesb

    One thing we know……

    They ain’t buying US fighter a/c anytime soon…..

    They ARE getting C-17’s….
    But Congress probably wouldn’t approve enough technology in any US fighter jet for it to actually get off the ground……

  • Hunter78

    Migg? That’s no simple typo– that shows the writer is a hack who knows nothing about military aviation. And when he quotes, the spelling is right.

  • IknowIT

    So, what happened to them looking at our stuff? Maybe not F35, but certainly F15 or whatever…

  • ostheim

    i dont see the big deal on this, why not just manufacture the parts? If they designed a fighter them selves, they would have to anyway. Mig-21s arent being produced anymore but if keeping them is a priority, then make the parts.

  • JSCS

    Ostheim is thinking, isn’t there a business opportunity here for some aero firms in the west?

    Maybe they’d like a few F-5’s in the mean time? Maintainable, parts available, good record in use. Anyone at Grumman?

  • Lance

    Alot of countries still have MiG-21 and will buy parts for them. Theres even countries who fly MiG-17s still. As for India they are not buying MiG-35 BUT they are buying MiG-29Ks for its new aircraft carrier.

  • Armored

    I used to mock people with this kind of tech but, sometimes, something is better than nothing, unless you can afford better…

  • Nenad

    India is going to buy lots of 4th generation planes, and even some 5th. US or Europe should take this market, even by selling at production cost, or credits with minimal interest rate. Russia don’t have enough money for PAK FA, China is building it’s own J-20 so only India left to finance Russian 5th generation aircraft. By taking India’s market PAK FA is killed out of action, than US can go for Iran and China. Economic victory and lots of high paid jobs in years of crises.

  • Condor

    The most desirable fighters in the world are those that have been adopted and flown by the U.S. military. Cheaper, and excellent, are several that lost out to the ones that were adopted by the U.S., one by a U.S. aviation company. These are excellent planes, why doesn’t India buy THOSE?