The Indian Air Force (IAF) will gradually phase out its aging fleet of MiG-21 combat jets, according to Indian Defence Minister AK Antony.

The combat jets will be replaced with two squadrons, including 16 indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA), and another six squadrons within six years, according to the Economic Times.

The air force currently operates almost 200 MiG-21s, of which it will replace 80-90 aircraft, and plans to upgrade another 121 to the Bison version before 2017.

The IAF is also expected to finalise the acquisition of 126 medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) in a deal worth $10bn as a part of the modernisation programme.

The air force decided to upgrade 121 MiG-21bis aircraft to the Bison in the mid 1990s, despite a series of crashes.