The MiG-21 that crashed on May 21
NEW DELHI: In yet another MiG-21 crash in the IAF, a young pilot was killed when his fighter went down near Moga in Punjab late on Thursday, reinforcing the urgent need to retire these old single-engine jets. Squadron Leader Abhinav Choudhary (28), who hailed from Baghpat-Meerut and had got married just over a year ago, had taken off in his MiG-21 ‘Bison’ from the Suratgarh airbase in Rajasthan for a “routine” night combat training sortie.
The young fighter pilot was returning to the airbase when his MiG-21 apparently developed a technical snag and crashed, with his body being found about 2 km from the crash site. The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry to establish the exact reason behind the crash, said an official. This is the third MiG-21 ‘Bison’ crash this year, with the first taking place near Suratgarh in January.
The old Soviet-origin MiG-21s, the first truly supersonic fighters to be inducted by the IAF in 1963, have had a high crash rate over the years. Of the 872 MiG-21s progressively inducted by IAF, over 400 have crashed since 1971-72, killing over 200 pilots and almost 50 civilians on the ground, as was earlier reported by TOI.