COIMBATORE: Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Monday sought to downplay questions over the use of MiG-21 Bison fighters to take on F-16 jets of the Pakistan Air Force after the latter’s transgression into the Indian air space on February 27, saying the aircraft is capable enough to fight the enemy planes.
He said the MiG-21 Bison has been upgraded and has “better radar, air-to-air missiles and better weapons system".
"The Mig-21 Bison is a capable aircraft, it has been upgraded,” Dhanoa said at a press conference here while responding to questions over why these fighters were used to counter the F-16s on February 27.
One of the MiG-21 fighters, flown by Wing Command Abhinandan Varthaman, was shot down while it was chasing the Pakistan jets and he landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) where he was taken into captivity.
"One is a planned operation in which you plan and carry out strikes, like the first strike (on Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot). Was any Bison used in that? Our best aircraft were used in that,” the IAF chief said.
“But when an adversary does a strike on you, every available aircraft goes in, irrespective of which aircraft it is. All aircraft are capable of fighting the enemy," he added.