IAF pilot killed as MiG-21 crashes in Rajasthan
The aircraft had taken off from the Indian Air Force (IAF) airbase on Monday morning for a routine training sortie and crashed while landing at the runway, officials said. The accident occured around 9:30 am.
Defence Ministry spokesperson in Jodhpur, Colonel S D Goswami said the IAF has ordered a court of inquiry to ascertain the cause for the crash. There was no reported loss to civilian life or property, he said.
This is the second MiG-21 crash in this year. Last month, a MiG-21 from the same airbase had crashed but the pilots had managed to eject safely. MiG-21 planes are in service for over 40 years now and they are expected to continue flying till 2018-19 in view of the delays in the induction of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas” by the DRDO. The IAF had inducted over 900 Russian-made MiG-21s in its fleet over a period of 40 years, half of which have been lost in different crashes. This is the sixth crash involving an IAF aircraft and fifth of a fighter plane in 2013.
In the last three years, the IAF has lost 31 fighter planes, including 14 MiG-21 fighters, eight MiG-27s, four Su-30MKi planes, two each Jaguars and Mirage 200 and one MiG-29.
Out of the seven pilots who died in these accidents, six lost their lives with the crash of MiG-21 planes. Altogether, six civilians have lost their lives and 39 civilian properties were damaged, according to defence ministry records.