MiG-21 Crashes In Rajasthan
Three civilians were killed on Monday in the Hanumangarh area of Rajasthan after an Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 fighter plane collided with a home. The pilot safely ejected, suffering only minor wounds.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) presently has six fighter aircraft, and the MiG-21s have long served as the IAF’s mainstay.
- Since 1963, India has purchased more than 700 MiG-21 aircraft in various varieties, the most recent of which is the MiG-21 Bison, an updated model with more modern missiles, radars, and avionics.
- The MiG-21s were introduced in 1963 as interceptors, but they were eventually improved to carry out a range of tasks typically carried out by fighter aircraft, including ground attacks.
- The 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, the war with Pakistan in 1965, and the Kargil conflict in 1999 were all fought with the help of MiG-21s.
- The MiG-21 has a high accident rate, with about 500 aircraft crashing in the last 60 years, killing over 170 pilots, despite their combat effectiveness.
- The causes of the accidents have been various and have included pilot spatial disorientation, human error, bird impacts, and mechanical flaws.
- MiG-21s have continued in service for a while despite the IAF’s long-term plans to phase them out due to delays in the acquisition of replacement aircraft.
- By 2024, the IAF intends to replace all of its MiG-21 Bison aircraft with more up-to-date models like the domestic Tejas, the French Rafale, and the Russian Su-30MKI.
- Along with retiring the MiG-21s, the IAF has started an upgrading programme for its fleet of Jaguar and Mirage 2000 fighter jets to increase their lifespan.
- To enhance these aircraft’s combat skills and retain them in service for a few more years, the upgrade programme comprises the integration of new avionics and weapon systems.
Points to Ponder:
- Three civilians were killed on Monday after an Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 fighter plane collided with a home in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district.
- The aircraft’s pilot safely ejected, albeit only with minor injuries. The incident happened at about 9.45 in the morning.
- When the pilot encountered an onboard problem, the aircraft had just taken off from the Air Force Station at Suratgarh for a regular operational training sortie.
- The pilot made an attempt to recover the aircraft per established protocols but was unable and started an ejection.
- According to the IAF, a Court of Inquiry has been established to ascertain the accident’s cause.
- A MiG-21 aircraft has been in an accident in India before, so this is not unprecedented. Around 200 pilots have lost their lives in the more than 400 accidents involving the MiG-21 that have happened in the nation.
- Three MiG-21 Bison squadrons are currently in use by the IAF; by 2025, one squadron per year will be phased down.
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence was recently notified by an Air Force representative that it was imperative to phase out the aircraft.
- Since the MiG-21 supersonic fighter entered service with the IAF in the early 1960s, more than 800 different versions have been produced.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been attempting to update its fleet by replacing the outdated MiG-21s with more modern and competent aircraft.