New Delhi: A MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed on Monday in Uttarlai in Rajasthan killing the pilot. The aircraft was airborne from Uttarlai on a routine flying training sortie. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the accident.
The aircraft had taken off with its Flight Lieutenant- rank pilot from the airbase for a routine training sortie and crashed while landing at the runway, officials said.
Defence Ministry spokesperson in Jodhpur Colonel SD Goswami said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the reason behind the crash. There was no reported loss to civilian life or property, he said.
In June 2013 also, a MiG-21 plane from the same airbase had crashed but the pilots had managed to eject safely. The vintage MiG-21s have been 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.
The IAF had inducted over 900 MiG-21s in its fleet over a period of 40 years, half of which were lost in different crashes.
This year, this is the sixth crash involving an IAF aircraft and fifth of a fighter plane. The aircraft which have crashed this year include one each of MiG-29, MiG-27, Su-30MKI and Mi-17V5 medium-lift helicopter. Two MiG-21s have crashed this year.
The phaseout of the MiG-21 will begin in 2017 as confirmed by Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne. It is expected to be replaced by the Light Combat Aircraft (LAC) Tejas.