In what continues to be a continuous tragedy, yet another MiG-21 has crashed – this time in Bikaner, Rajasthan. Non-affectionately dubbed as flying coffin the Mig21 accidents have meant that India continues to lose both its Air supremacy and its pilots to more crashes than any other Air Force of comparable size.
An IAF spokesperson said the MiG crashed after getting airborne from Nal, near Bikaner. He said initial inputs indicated that the jet crashed after it reportedly hit a bird.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 has its origins in a Soviet design project dating early 1950’s to improve upon MiG-15 and MiG-17. The fighter was first inducted into Soviet service in 1959. The , then, cutting edge fighter joined Indian Air Force in 1964. The First Super Sonic Aircraft in Indian inventory caused a death knell to further develop HF-24 Marut, the first fighter Air craft India ever built.
Including locally manufactured licensed copied, India has had operated over 1,200 of these vintage aircraft. Developed to fight F104 starfighters, F4 Phantoms and F5s the MiG-21 has long outlived its utility. Almost comparable to Soviet T55 tanks, the plan should be either in reserves or at the very least out of front line duties. However the Air Force, already equipped with Mig-29s, Su30MKI and Mirage-2000s continues to deploy the fighter on border patrols even during the times of heightened tension.
At this pint of time around 110 MiG-21 are still operational in country all of whihch should have had retired by 2017.