A MiG-21 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed, today, in Rajasthan’s Bikaner, after it reportedly suffered a bird hit. The plane had taken off from Nal near Bikaner. The pilot is said to have ejected safely.
Bikaner SP Pradeep Mohan Sharma said the MIG aircraft crashed in Shobhasar ki Dhani, 12 km from Bikaner city. According to IAF, the MiG-21 had taken off from the IAF’s Nal airbase in Rajasthan and that it was on a routine mission.
The IAF statement said, “Today afternoon a MiG-21 aircraft on a routine mission crashed after getting airborne from Nal near Bikaner. Initial inputs indicate the likely cause as bird hit after take off. Pilot of the aircraft ejected safely. A CoI [Court of Inquiry] will investigate the cause of the accident.”
The MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the erstwhile Soviet Union. India acquired these flights after Indo-China war, remaining as an key arm for IAF.
However, in recent times, the IAF has witnessed a series of crashes involving fighter jets and choppers. On February 1, a Mirage 2000 fighter jet had crashed during a routine testing flight. Both the pilots in the jet had died after their safety equipment gave way.
The pilots were on an “acceptance sortie” of the Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft after it was overhauled by the Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Barely a fortnight later, two Surya Kiran Hawks were involved in a collision that led to the death of one pilot. The crash had taken place barely days before the 12 edition of Aero India.
On February 12, a Mig-27 fighter jet had crashed at the Pokhran firing range after taking off from the Jaisalmer air base. More recently, on February 27, a Mi 17 helicaptor of the IAF had crashed at Budgam in Kashmir. All six IAF personnel on board the chopper were killed. A civilian was also killed in the crash.
The MiG-21 fighter jet has been in the news recently after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was flying a similar aircraft shot down a Pakistani F-16 before crashing in Pakistan.