What Fighter Jet Had The Most Crashes Among Active Jets?

What Fighter Jet Had The Most Crashes Among Active Jets?
Two U.S. Air Force F-16CJ Fighting Falcons and two Romanian MiG-21s fly in formation over Campia Turzii, Romania, after conducting an air training scenario March 17, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales)

Military aircraft are often very risky because they can crash frequently due to the nature of their missions and the demanding conditions they operate. Perhaps the MIG-21 is the fighter jet that had the most crashes among the active jets.

The Mikoyan–Gurevich MiG 21 is a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan–Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.

The MiG is a product of the Soviet Union which entered service in 1959. Nearly 60 countries on four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it continues to serve many countries six decades after its first flight.

According to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) database, there have been 1,185 recorded accidents involving the MiG-21. These incidents resulted in 431 fatalities.

The ASN database tracks aviation safety worldwide and highlights the significant number of accidents involving this aircraft type, reflecting its challenging operational history and associated risks.

According to official data from the Indian Air Force, the MiG-21 has been involved in a substantial number of accidents. Out of the 872 MiG-21s that the Indian Air Force has received since 1971-72, more than 400 have been lost in accidents.

These crashes, mainly involving MiG-21 variants, have resulted in the deaths of over 200 pilots and 50 civilians on the ground.

These last two squadrons of IAF MiG-21 are slated to finally retire in 2025. The MiG-21 will be retired in India some 40 years after the Soviet Air Force retired them in 1985.

Even after India retires its MiG-21 fleet, it will remain in service with other air forces. According to The Military Balance 2023, hundreds of Chengdu J-7s (China’s licensed production of the MiG-21) remain in service for conversion training.

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