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Indian Air Force MiG-21 crashes after bird strike

According to Indian Air Force the pilot ejected safely.

An Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 crashed in in Rajasthan’s Bikaner sector today after a bird strike.

According to the IAF the pilot of the fighter jet ejected safely. The service added that initial inputs suggest that the MiG-21 crash was caused by a bird strike.

Bikaner’s superintendent of police, Pradeep Mohan Sharma, told news agency PTI that the MiG-21 jet crashed in Shobhasar ki Dhani, 12 km outside of Bikaner city.

The IAF said in a statement that the MiG-21 had taken off from the Indian Air Force’s Nal airbase in Rajasthan and that it was on a routine mission. “Today afternoon a MiG-21 aircraft on a routine mission crashed after getting airborne from Nal near Bikaner. Initial inputs indicate the likely cause as bird hit after takeoff. Pilot of the aircraft ejected safely. A CoI [Court of Inquiry] will investigate the cause of the accident.”

The MiG-21 crash in Rajasthan comes at a time of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan. Air forces of both the countries have been involved in bombing missions in respective territories.

Indian and Pakistani jets even got into a dogfight over Jammu and Kashmir on February 27 leading to the brief capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

As we have explained more than 100 MiG-21s are known to be operational with the IAF in the role of interceptor aircraft. However, the plane has been plagued by safety problems: in fact at least 14 MiG-21s have crashed between 2010 and 2013. Nevertheless their phase-out date has been postponed several times. Initially set for 2014-2017, it was later postponed to 2019. Currently phase-out is scheduled for 2021-2022.

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