IAF Grounds Entire Fleet Of MiG-21 Fighter Jets Pending Investigations Into Recent Crash | Aviation News

Following the crash of a MiG-21 Bison fighter jet in Rajasthan’a Hanumangarh recently, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has grounded the entire fleet of the MiG-21 fighter aircraft. The planes will be grounded till the checks are carried out and investigations into the reasons behind the crash over Rajasthan, said the IAF. The MiG-21 is the oldest operational fighter jet in India, with a questionable safety record. The fighter is also known as ‘Flying Coffin’ and ‘Widow Maker’ for hundreds of crashes in the past 5 decades. “The MiG-21 fleet has been grounded till the investigations are carried out and reasons for the crash are ascertained,” senior defence officials told ANI.

More pilots of the Indian Air Force have died in the MiG-21 crashes than any other fighter jets in India. Recently, three civilians lost their lives in the crash when a MiG-21 Bison aircraft airborne from the Suratgarh air base crashed over Hanumangarh in a village on May 8. Following the incident, the IAF has decided to ground all the jets. The IAF earlier decided to phase out the MiG-21 soon.

The fighter jet that crashed over Rajasthan was on a routine training sortie when it met with an accident. The pilot suffered minor injuries after which an inquiry had been launched to probe the exact cause of the crash.

There are only three MiG-21 squadrons operating in the IAF and all of them are going to be phased out by the early part of 2025, they said. The MiG-21 aircraft variants started getting inducted into the Indian Air Force over five decades.

The IAF has 31 combat aircraft squadrons including three of the MiG-21 Bison variant. The MIG-21 was inducted into the IAF in the 1960s and 800 variants of the fighter have been in service. The crash rate of the MiG-21 has been a cause of concern in recent times as many of them have met with accidents.

The IAF is also looking at induction of the indigenous aircraft including the LCA Mark 1A and LCA Mark 2 along with the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.

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