An IAF MiG-21 Bison crashed upon takeoff from an airbase in central India under unknown circumstances. The pilot died in the crash.
According to a tweet by the IAF, the aircraft crashed during take off while the jet was on a combat training mission.
“A MiG-21 Bison aircraft of IAF was involved in a fatal accident this morning, while taking off for a combat training mission at an airbase in central India,” reads the tweet by the IAF.
In another tweet, it revealed the identity of the captain, adding that a “Court of Inquiry” has been ordered to determine the cause of the accident.
India has long been criticised for its fleet of outdated MiG-21 Bison aircraft. IAF chief BS Dhanoa said two years ago that the IAF was operating 44-year-old MiG-21 Bison fighter jets when people didn’t even drive cars that were this old.
More than half of India’s fleet of 872 MiGs has been lost to crashes over the last four decades, the country’s then Defence Minister Arackaparambil Kurien Antony told parliament in 2012.
Around the world, the MiG-21 is hardly in use anymore. According to some reports, the MiG-21 currently serves in just 18 air forces worldwide, which include the two members of NATO (Romania and Croatia).
India is phasing out its MiG-21 squadron recently following frequent incidents of jet crashes. It hopes to spend $100 billion over a decade to upgrade its military, often through partnerships between foreign and local companies.
But many deals have been stalled or scrapped, due to corruption allegations and the outgoing government’s slow pace.