New Delhi: Over a month after they were
grounded, a major chunk of IAF`s MiG-27 fighter jet fleet was
still not flying as only the trainer version of the aircraft
have been cleared for operations, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik
"As far as MiG-27s are concerned, the trainer version is
still flying as it has a different engine. As far as other
engines are concerned, we are going into more details as
whether any more checks are required or it is ready to fly,"
he told reporters here.
The IAF had grounded its entire MiG-27 aircraft fleet for
checks following a crash in February near Hashimara in which
an ace fighter pilot was killed.
It had also ordered examination of the aircraft following
preliminary report of the Court of Inquiry suggesting that the
mishap could have taken place due to failure of "low pressure
turbine blades", a problem tackled only at the overhaul or
fourth line servicing stage.
The IAF flies around 160 MiG-27 swing-wing aircraft, used
for both air-to-air and ground attacks in eight of the
existing 33.5 squadrons.
Asked if there was a need to increase the patrolling in
the Gulf of Aden in view of increased incidents of piracy
there, he said, "We should protect our assets. At what scale,
that we have to sit and decide."