An Indian Air Force MiG-21 fighter jet has crashed in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, at 1:21 pm on July 18, killing the pilot.
The jet took off from the Pathankot Air Force Station, a frontline Indian Air Force base in Punjab, earlier the day for a routine sortie.
According to reports, the aircraft crashed in Mehra Palli village in Patta Jattiyan, Jawali killing the pilot, IAF Squadron Leader Meet Kumar. Visuals from the accident site showed the debris of the aircraft engulfed in flames, lying in a field.
A Court of Inquiry (CoI) has been ordered by the Air Force to establish the cause of the accident.
This is the second Indian Air Force fighter jet crash in two months.
In June, an Indian Air Force Jaguar fighter-bomber crashed in Gujarat’s Kutch soon after take-off, killing the pilot. The pilot, Air Commodore Sanjai Chauhan, was a senior IAF officer and the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of Jamnagar Air Force Station.
Later the month, a Sukhoi Su-30MKI air superiority fighter jet crashed in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, while on a test flight with its manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Both the pilots were able to eject safely from the aircraft in that incident.
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.