Rajasthan: IAF'S Mig-21 aircraft crashes in Barmer, both pilots dead
The Indian Air Force (IAF) lost two pilots on Thursday night when a MiG-21 fighter jet crashed in Rajasthan's Barmer district. Barmer's district collector, Lok Bandu, said the IAF plane crashed near Baytoo's Bhimda village. The IAF expressed its heartfelt regret for the lives lost and declared its support for the grieving families. The accident's cause will be determined by a court of inquiry.
Why does this story matter?
The disaster highlights the IAF's aging fleet of Soviet-origin Mig-21 jets, which have been involved in as many as 200 mishaps since their introduction in the early 1960s. Ajay Bhat, Minister of State for Defense, stated in the Rajya Sabha in March that 42 defense personnel had been killed in incidents involving planes and helicopters from the three services in the previous five years.
Official statement over the development
Following the tragedy, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke with IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari regarding the incident. "Deeply anguished by the loss of two Air Warriors due to an accident of IAF's Mig-21 trainer aircraft near Barmer in Rajasthan. Their service to the nation will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of sadness," Singh tweeted.
Details regarding the incident
As per reports, the twin-seater MiG-21 trainer fighter-jet plane took off for a training mission Thursday evening from Rajasthan's Utarlai air base. The aircraft had an accident near Barmer at about 9:10 pm, causing fatal injuries to both pilots, leading to their deaths. Images from the crash site showed the plane in flames. The police reportedly arrived at the scene immediately after the collision.
Aircraft engulfed in flames
The Mig-21's will be retired over the next decade
The MiG-21 is a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft from the Soviet era that was once the foundation of the IAF fleet. The aircraft is slated to be retired over the next decade, after which more modern models will replace it. Notably, in the past five years, there have been 45 aviation accidents, 29 involving IAF platforms, mostly Mig-21.Share this timeline