Losses and Aviation Safety

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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Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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