March 5, 2024
Two Type-77s , both from the 71 war era form the current GI airframe fleet
MiG-21 FL C-589 sports the MOFTU emblem on the nose and desert camouflage. This was from 2003. Today, the aircraft is painted a drab grey.

Two of the aircraft that form the mainstay of ground instructions of AFTC are two MiG-21FLs serialled C-589 and C-590. The MiG-21s are probably from one of the first batches of FLs built by HAL around 1966-68 period. Not much is known of the provenance of the aircraft, but it is of note that both aircraft are in taxiable condition and undergo regular engine runs from time to time.

Click to Enlarge The tail fin of MiG-21 FL C-589 from its previous paint scheme.
C-589 today had lost its interesting desert camo and is painted the IAF standard grey colors. Click to Enlarge

The first MiG, C-589 was seen in desert colors and sporting the MOFTU emblem on the nose when Shekar Rao of Air Nuts visited the aircraft in late 2003. However since then, the aircraft has been repainted in grey colors.

The second MiG, C-590 has previously been seen in other photos. The aircraft also formed the backdrop in many a graduation day group photograph. Unlike C-589, C-590 was in plain metal finish and still retains it at AFTC.

Click to Enlarge
MiG-21 FL C-590 is used for Instructional purposes in the Air Force Technical College, located at Jallahali. Note the two Gnat airframes in the rear to the left. Today there is only one complete Gnat airframe at the AFTC. The second Gnat was made into a ‘Cut-away’ airframe.
Click to Enlarge A recent photo of C-590 shows it stored ouside the main hangar.

As mentioned before, neither aircraft has been noted to have served in any of the operations. Nor has the aircraft turned up in any pilot logbooks as on date. Also unexplained is the coincidence in having two aircraft with successive tail numbers. Was this deliberate? or unintentional? We are yet to find that out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *