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IAF verifying MiG-27 fleet's flight worthiness: Naik

A file photo of MiG-27 aircraft.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Over a month after they were grounded, a major chunk of Indian Air Force's MiG-27 fighter aircraft fleet was still not flying as only the trainer version of the aircraft have been cleared for operations, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said here.

"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 near Hashimara in February, 2010 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, the Air Force Chief said, "We should protect our assets. At what scale, that we have to sit and decide.

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