It’s just been two weeks since a MiG 21 that entered Pakistani Airspace was shot down in a dog fight. Another incident of a MiG 21 crashing close to Bikaner in Rajasthan on Friday afternoon. It is learnt that there are no causalities whatsoever. The Pilot who was in control of the Jet ejected from the Aircraft when there was an engine failure. The Engine failure occurred due to a collision with a bird. However, Investigations are yet to be carried out.
It is not new knowledge that the MiG 21 jets that India has are an ageing fleet. The jets were acquired in the 1960s right after the India China War. It was used even during the Kargil War in 1999. Also, recently used in the Air strikes when Pakistani Airforce tried to enter Indian Airspace and attack vital Military installations. The Indian Airforce has no option but to rely on these ageing aircrafts as the process to procure newer aircrafts is a lengthy procedure. There is a lot of red tapes that delay the process of new acquisitions.
MiG 21 dominated the Sky in the Indo Pak war of 1971
These Jets were very popular as it was mass produced and hence the cost of it was relatively lower. India has been the biggest market for the MiG 21 aircraft. There is a total of 111 Jets in the Indian Airforce. A number that is beaten only by the Sukhoi Su 30 which are 242 in number. The Bison variant of the MiG 21 aircraft is nothing but an upgrade on the already existing fleet.
The MiG 21 first saw success during the India Pakistan war of 1971. It was successful in bringing down several Pakistani fighter jets like Shenyang F-6, F-104s, f-86 Sabre and Lockheed C-130 Hercules. It was purchased by several nations after that. Iraq approached India to train the Pilots of the Iraqi Airforce. A request that the Indian Government honored. By early 1970s more than 120 Iraqi pilots were trained by the Indian Airforce. But now its high time that the fleet of MiG 21 jets are replaced.