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Two pilots dead in the crash of a Mig-21 near Barmer, Rajasthan.

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Two pilots dead in the crash of a Mig-21 near Barmer, Rajasthan.
NDTV

On Friday night, an accident involving a twin-seater Mig-21 trainer aircraft near Barmer, Rajasthan, claimed the lives of two Indian Air Force pilots. IAF reported the incident

An investigation to determine the accident’s cause has been mandated.

The unfortunate plane had departed on a night training mission.

The pilots had no time to eject as it caught fire midair before crashing to the earth. It happened around 9.10 o’clock.

Rajnath Singh, the defence minister, asked IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari about the tragedy during their conversation. The Air Chief informed him of the situation.

Since January of last year, at least six MiG-21 aircraft have crashed, killing five pilots. In the last five years alone, at least 44 military personnel have perished in a total of 46 aircraft and helicopter mishaps. Particularly, the older MiG-21s of Soviet provenance, the IAF’s first true supersonic fighters introduced in 1963, have had a high crash rate over time.

MiG-21s ought to have been retired a long time ago. But despite upgrading its four MiG-21 squadrons to “Bison” standards, the IAF still uses the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA), which has a capacity of 16–18 aircraft. This is due to the enormous delays in the introduction of new fighters.

IAF possesses 70 MiG 21 jets, which were designed in the 1960s, however the ones currently in service are 30-35 years old or older.

The IAF stated that by 2025, it plans to phase down its fleet of MiG 21 aircraft.

Mr. Singh posted on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths of two Air Warriors as a result of an IAF Mig-21 trainer aircraft accident close to Barmer, Rajasthan. “Their contributions to the country won’t be forgotten. In this difficult time, my thoughts are with the grieving families, he said.

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