- Recently a MiG-21 Bison aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Barmer, Rajasthan, killing two pilots aboard the training version of the fighter aircraft.
- Presently the IAF has around 70 MiG-21 aircraft and 50 MiG-29 variants.
- At present, there are four squadrons of MiG-21 Bison aircraft serving in the Indian Air Force, each squadron consisting of 16-18 aircraft, including two training versions.
- The IAF also plans to phase out three squadrons of MiG-29 fighter jets over the next five years.
- It is a part of the modernization drive of the Indian Air Force.
- All four MiG-21 squadrons are planned to be retired by the year 2025.
- The MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft, manufactured by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.
- MiG is a fighter aircraft procured from the Soviet Union which has been serving in the AIF since 1959.
- About 60 countries across four continents have used the MiG-21 and it is still in service in many countries six decades after its first flight.
- India inducted the MiG-21 in the year 1963 and received full technology transfer and license-manufacturing rights of the aircraft in the country.
- Russia ceased production of the aircraft in 1985, while India continued to operate improved versions.
MiG-21 Crash in India:
- There have been 108 air crashes and damages in the last ten years, involving all armaments of the Indian Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard.
- Of these, 21 accidents involved the MiG-21 Bison and its variants.
- The aircraft was nicknamed the ‘Flying Coffin’ due to the high rate of accidents.
- There is no single common cause of military aircraft crashes. These can range from weather, human error, technical error to ‘bird hit’.
- MiG-21 is a single engine fighter jet which may also cause some accidents.
- It is a single engine fighter jet and needs to be restarted when its engine shuts down but it takes a certain amount of time, so if you are below the minimum altitude you have to jump off the plane.