An Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft has crashed near Nal in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district at around 1430 hours on Friday, March 8.
The pilot ejected from the aircraft before the crash and is reportedly safe.
The aircraft took off from IAF’s Nal-Bikaner Air Force Station on a routine mission in afternoon when its engine developed technical issues, according to sources. Initial inputs suggest that the aircraft malfunctioned due to a bird hit, NDTV reported citing a defence spokesperson.
A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of accident.
India’s MiG-21 fleet recently hit headlines when one of the jets was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during an aerial combat and the pilot was taken in custody by the Pakistan Armed Forces. The pilot was eventually released. This series of events unfurled following an attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy by Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which led to the death of 40 soldiers and the Indian retaliatory strike on alleged terrorist camp in Pakistan.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (NATO reporting name: Fishbed) is a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.
It made aviation records, became the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history, the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War and previously the longest production run of a combat aircraft (now exceeded by both the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon).
Approximately 60 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations six decades after its maiden flight.
The Indian Air Force currently operates MiG-21 Bison (MiG-21–92, upgraded MIG-21bis “Fishbed-N”). The MiG-21bis is one of the oldest variants of the fighter in IAF service. The IAF has been the world’s largest operator of the jet, the first variants of which entered service with the air force in the sixties.