A MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed today while landing at Uttarlai airbase in Rajasthan’s Barmer district,killing the pilot. “One MiG-21 Bison crashed at the Uttarlai airbase at about 0930 hours. The pilot sustained fatal injuries,” the IAF said in a statement.
The aircraft had taken off with its Flight Lieutenant-rank pilot from the airbase for a routine training sortie and crashed while landing at the runway,officials said.
Defence Ministry spokesperson in Jodhpur Colonel S D Goswami said a Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the reason behind the crash. There was no reported loss to civilian life or property,he said.
Last month also,a MiG-21 plane from the same airbase had crashed but the pilots had managed to eject safely. The vintage MiG-21s have been in service for over 40 years now and they are expected to continue flying till 2018-19 in view of the delays in the induction of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft.
The IAF had inducted over 900 MiG-21s in its fleet over a period of 40 years,half of which were lost in different crashes.
This year,this is the sixth crash involving an IAF aircraft and fifth of a fighter plane. The aircraft which have crashed this year include one each of MiG-29,MiG-27,Su-30MKI and Mi-17V5 medium-lift helicopter. Two MiG-21s have crashed this year.