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IAF turns 76, celebrates glory | Pics: Pride and honour

Oct 08, 2008 08:49 AM IST India India

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force celebrates its 76th founding day on Wednesday, October 8.

The day will mark the phasing out of the MiG-23s, believed to be the most accident-prone fighter-bomber aircrafts in the Indian fleet.

The highlight of the day is the flying display. Air Chief Marshal Fali Major will review the fleet and the final flypast by the Russian-made MiG-23.

The planes to be phased out are a Cold War symbol codenamed 'Flogger' by NATO adversaries.

The MiG-23 was among the first supersonic ground-attack fighters inducted into the IAF in 1982.

It was meant to lend muscle to India's capability to wage offensive warfare, by giving it the means to bombard enemy targets on the ground.

But the safety record of the MiG-23 turned out to be worse than the MiG-21, they were even notoriously nicknamed as the Flying Coffins.

The phase-out of the MiG-23 is part of the transformation process underway in the IAF.

The Indian Air Force took was formed about 76 years ago under the British rule.

It took off as a tiny fleet with four Westland Wapiti army co-operative by-planes, six Royal Air Force (RAF) trained officers and 19 Hawai Sepoys.

Today, it is the fourth largest Air Force in the world. It boasts of a highly technical and specialised fighting force that safeguards the country's skies against enemy invasions as well as steps in for rescue operations during crisis.

The fleet includes the IAF's frontline Sukhoi-30MKI combat jets along with Mirage 2000s, MiG-27s and upgraded MiG-21 Bisons.

The force has mean machines to match its highly capable fighters pilots.