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The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) MiG-21 fighter jets are making their final hurrah in a major exercise. These legendary aircraft are participating in Gagan Shakti-2024, a pan-India wargame that began on April 1st and continues until April 10th.

This exercise simulates a realistic war environment, allowing the IAF to test its integrated air combat capabilities. For the MiG-21 Bisons, however, Gagan Shakti-2024 marks their last major drill before retirement.

The IAF currently operates just two MiG-21 squadrons: the No. 3 Squadron (“Cobras”) stationed at Nal near Bikaner and the No. 23 Squadron (“Panthers”) at Suratgarh, both in Rajasthan. Both squadrons are scheduled for retirement by 2025, with one potentially leaving service later this year.

These iconic jets have served the IAF for over five decades, playing a pivotal role in numerous conflicts. Their participation in Gagan Shakti-2024 serves as a fitting farewell, showcasing their legacy before they are phased out in favor of more modern aircraft.