- The MiG-21 Bison crashed during takeoff, the IAF said.
- The IAF aircraft was on a routine combat training mission when it crashed.
- A “investigation panel” assigned to determine the cause of the accident, the IAF said.
India has long been criticized for its outdated fleet of MiG-21 Bison aircraft. IAF chief BS Dhanoa said two years ago that “the IAF is serving 44-year-old fighter jets when people aren’t even driving cars that old”.
According to an IAF tweet, “The plane crashed during take-off while it was on a routine combat training mission. The pilot also died in crash on Wednesday.”
“An IAF fighter jet involved in a fatal accident this morning while on a combat training mission at an air base in central India. An “investigative panel” had ordered to investigate the cause of the incident”, the IAF tweeted also.
This is the latest in series of MiG-21 crashes.
History of MiG-21 crashes in IAF
There were almost no MiG-21s anywhere in the world except serves in 18 air forces worldwide including Romania and Croatia. The MiG-21 is a Soviet-era single-engine multi-role fighter and ground plane that was first introduced to the IAF in the 1960s and upgraded to the MiG-21 Bison in 2006.
Here we have look on some crashes…
According to media reports from 1970, more than 170 Indian pilots and 40 civilians died in jet crashes. Most of them were caused by the MiG-21, which had 210 accidents from 1963 to 2015. Indian Defense Minister said, “India has lost more than half of its 872 fleet of MiG aircrafts in the last 40 years. Since 2016, the IAF has lost 27 aircraft in accidents involving 15 fighter jets and helicopters.”
In March, a MiG jet crashed at Bikaner in Rajasthan. The pilot got out and the crash was due to a technical problem with the engine.
Another Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 crashed near Gwalior Air Force Base in Madhya Pradesh. A group captain and a squadron leader were able to eject and land safely.
One of MiG-21 plane was also shot down by the Pakistan Air Force on February 27, 2019. In resulting the IAF wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman arrested.
While IAF is looking unprofessional in maintenance of its jets, the jets are also very old to use.
In January, MiG-21 fighter plane crashed near Suratgar, Rajasthan due to technical breakdown. The pilot had ejected safely.