It was December 1971, the Bangladesh Liberation Movement in East Pakistan was at its peak.
Bangladesh Liberation Movement in East Pakistan was at its peak.
The Indian government's stance was to support the creation of a separate state for ethnic Bengalis by supporting the Mukti Bahini movement through training and support through India’s intelligence unit, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Naturally irked by this move, the Pakistani Air Force launched pre-emptive strikes on Indian Air Force bases both in the western and eastern fronts.
It was during these crucial times that the MiG 21 FL Type 77 (NATO Codename FISHBED) played a critical role, and in turn went on to be called the 'dogfight duke of 1971.' Type 77 primarily played a spot-interceptor role, but eventually went on to create an air-superiority umbrella so fierce that the enemy was forced to ground their planes.
Type 77 created an air-superiority umbrella so fierce that the enemy was forced to ground their planes.
The Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 21 (NATO Codenamed FISHBED) are the Czech Republic built fighter jets under the Soviet Union during the 1950s. The Type 77 variant was the first supersonic fighter jet of the Indian Air Force made by India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (headquartered in Bangalore) under license from the Soviet Union and inducted into the Indian Air Force in the early 1960s.
The Type 77 served IAF for fifty years until retirement in 2013
The MiG 21 Type 77 went on to serve the IAF for fifty years until retirement in 2013. Pilots who flew the Type 77 and service personnel that spent time with the Type 77 still have fond memories, making it one of the most iconic planes that ever flew for the Indian Air Force.
It is this plane that we chose to pay tribute to, through the MACH 1 collection.