Indian Air Force MiG-21UM fighter aircraft Crashes in the Bhimra (Bhimda) village of Barmer district in Rajasthan state killing both pilots.
“A twin seater Mig-21 trainer aircraft of the IAF was airborne for a training sortie from Utarlai air base in Rajasthan this evening. Around 9:10 pm, the aircraft met with an accident near Barmer. Both pilots sustained fatal injuries,” the Air Force said in a statement.
“IAF deeply regrets the loss of lives and stands firmly with the bereaved families,”it further said.
court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident, it said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari following the crash.
“Deeply anguished by the loss of two Air Warriors due to an accident of IAF’s Mig-21 trainer aircraft near Barmer in Rajasthan,” Mr Singh said on Twitter.
“Their service to the nation will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of sadness,” he said.
The MiG-21 is a Soviet-era single-engine multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft that once formed the backbone of the IAF fleet.
The aircraft has a poor safety record and is expected to be withdrawn from service within the next decade by which time it will be replaced with more modern types.