MiG-21 Crash: Have MiG-21 Fighter Jets Become the ‘Flying Coffin’ for the Air Force? Know what are the advantages and disadvantages of this plane?-Indian Air Force MiG-21 fighter plane crashed in Rajasthan’s Barmer. In this accident, both the pilots of the MiG-21 trainee aircraft lost their lives. What was the real cause of the accident, will be known only after the order of the investigation and the Court of Inquiry. The fatal incident has once again put a question mark on the reliability and usability of the MiG-21 aircraft. However, this is not the first incident in which a MiG-21 aircraft has crashed. Let us know everything that you want to know about this fighter plane.
MiG-21 Crash: Have MiG-21 Fighter Jets Become the ‘Flying Coffin’ for the Air Force? Know what are the advantages and disadvantages of this plane?
First, know the history of MiG-21
Mikoyan Gurevich is also known as MiG-21. It has been one of the most advanced and premier fighter aircraft of the Soviet Union. It was manufactured by the Mikoyan Company of the Soviet Union (now Russia). The aircraft made its first flight in 1955 and was officially inducted into the army in the year 1959. The main reason behind the creation of this aircraft was the arms and military rivalry between the Soviet Union and the West. Through this, the Soviet Union wanted to give a befitting reply to America and its allies NATO countries.
When was the MiG-21 inducted into the Indian Air Force?
The MiG-21 fighter aircraft was inducted into the Indian Air Force in the year 1963. Being one of the most advanced fighter aircraft of the time, India had a total of 874 MiG-21 aircraft in its fleet. Most of these aircraft were manufactured in India (by HAL). In view of its old technology, now the manufacture of this aircraft has been stopped. India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has upgraded it under license.
MiG-21 aircraft have a long history of accidents
The list of accidents in the MiG-21 aircraft of the Indian Air Force is very long. In the year 2021, about five MiG-21 aircraft were victims of the accident. Earlier, two MiG-21s had crashed in 2013, three in 2014, two in 2015, three in 2016, two in 2018, and three in 2019. Earlier, the UPA government’s Union Minister and AK Antony (then Defense Minister) in his official statement in 2012 acknowledged that since joining the Air Force in 2012, a total of 482 MiG-21s had been victims of accidents. happened. In these accidents, 171 pilots, 39 civilians, and eight others lost their lives. Even after this, year after year, these aircraft continued to be victims of accidents.
What is the specialty of MiG-21 aircraft?
The MiG-21 aircraft is considered to be the first supersonic aircraft of the Indian Air Force. MiG-21 aircraft fly faster than the speed of sound and are famous for deceiving the enemy. The utility and firepower of this aircraft can be gauged from the fact that it has been used by more than 60 countries around the world. For India too, the MiG-21 has played the role of a game changer on many important occasions. This aircraft made a significant contribution to the war with Pakistan in 1965, 1971, and 1999.
There are four squadrons (bases) of MiG-21 aircraft
Indian Air Force has 4 squadrons i.e. base or fleet of MiG-21 aircraft. The number of fighters in a squadron is kept between 16 and 18. According to estimates, about 64 MiG-21 aircraft are currently available with the Air Force. During the Balakot strike, Wing Commander Abhinandan shot down an advanced F-16 of the Pakistani Air Force with the same MiG-21.
What are the drawbacks of MiG-21 aircraft?
Even though the MiG-21 aircraft is today infamous due to accidents, it is a historical type of aircraft in itself, but due to being more than half a century old, it has lagged far behind in technical matters in the present era. The Indian Air Force uses its most advanced variant, the MiG-21 Bison. It can be equipped with a state-of-the-art BVR missile. However, amidst all the positives, engine technology is the most important in fighter jets in modern times, and the engine technology of MiG-21 aircraft is now very outdated. Apart from this, the design and frame of the aircraft are also old-fashioned. Russia, the originator of this aircraft, freed this aircraft from its air force in 1985 itself. Talking about the present, most of the user countries have made this aircraft free of their air force.
What is the compulsion to fly 6 decade old MiG planes that made 400 crashes, and 200 pilots martyrs?
The MiG-21, which joined the Indian Air Force in the year 1963, was to be retired in 1990 according to the rules, but it was upgraded and used several times in the country. Arup Raha, who was the Air Force Chief in 2014, had said about the MiG-21 that the more India delays in removing the old aircraft, the more the threat to India will increase from the point of view of security.
When the fighter aircraft MiG-21 of the Indian Air Force crashed in Moga, Punjab on Thursday, pilot Abhinav Chaudhary died in an accident. After this, questions are bound to arise once again on this fighter aircraft. Why is this almost 60-year-old plane still being flown?
In fact, since this aircraft joined the Air Force, it has crashed more than 400 times, in which 256 people including 200 pilots have lost their lives so far. Only if we talk about the year 2021, then in just one year there have been three accidents with this aircraft. Before Moga in Punjab, a MiG-21 bison crashed on March 17 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, although no one was killed in this accident. Before this, on January 5, a MiG-21 plane had become a victim of an accident in Suratgarh, Rajasthan.
The MiG-21, costing about Rs 177 crore, was inducted by the Indian Air Force into its fleet in 1963. At that time, the Air Force had bought 874 supersonic fighter aircraft MiG-21 from the Soviet Union, which is today’s Russia. After Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) started production of this aircraft in 1967, but in 1985 Russia stopped manufacturing this aircraft. Although India kept upgrading it and to date, it is being used.
Why is India still using it?
When Russia built this aircraft, more than 60 countries around the world used this aircraft, although most countries gave it retirement in time, India still uses it today. The one who made it, Russia retired it from its place in the year 1985 itself. After that, in many ways, smaller countries like Afghanistan and Bangladesh have also removed it from India. In India, when it was bought in 1963, its retirement period was decided in 1990. But India is using it by upgrading to date. Looking at the way these planes are getting crashed, now it should be retired from India as well.
MiG-21 won India in every war
MiG-21 is the pride of India because it never betrayed India on the battlefield. India may have many aircraft, but when it comes to trust in war, the Air Force first chooses the MiG-21. The biggest reason for this is that the operational cost and maintenance of this aircraft are much less than other fighter jets. This is the same MiG-21 with which Wing Commander Abhinandan shot down Pakistan’s F-16 in the Balakot airstrike. In the Kargil war of 1971 and 1999 also, this fighter aircraft supported the Indian Air Force and saved the enemy’s sixes.