Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Friday flew solo in an IAF MiG 21 type 96 fighter jet over the skies of Tamil Nadu.

The ACM took three sorties in the Soviet-era fighter jet, which was recently in the news due to the heroism of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

ACM Dhanoa was seen saluting from inside the cockpit before taxing to the runway for takeoff from the Sulur Air Force Base.

Post his solo sortie, he reaffirmed “MiG-21 is a formidable war machine”.

The Chief of the Air Staff has more than 2000 hours of flying on the MiG-21 jet. He has led a MiG-21 squadron from front during Operation Safed Sagar during the Kargil War.

The ageing MiG 21s make for a large number of fighter jets in the IAF and have been involved in a series of accidents in the past.

This is not the first time the ACM flew solo in a MiG 21. In January last year, ACM Dhanoa undertook two sorties in a MiG-21 aircraft during his three-day visit to the Jaisalmer Air Force station in Rajasthan.

He had then visited various operational as well as welfare facilities, and interacted with station personnel during which he exhorted them to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and the need to be vigilant with regards to security of assets and information.

In February this year, Wg Cdr Varthaman scripted air warfare history by downing a Pakistani Air Force (PAF) F-16 with his MiG 21 Bison. The feat was hailed as remarkable due to the generation gap between the two aircraft.

The incident happened when PAF fighter jets violated Indian airspace to target military installations in Jammu-Kashmir a day after IAF jets pummelled a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camp in Balakot in retaliation of the Pulwama terror attack.