The Indian Air Force (IAF) has grounded its entire MiG-21 fleet after a fighter jet crashed in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh village.
Three people died, not including the pilot, in the crash on Monday, May 8, 2023, after the Soviet built fighter jet crashed into a house.
At the time of the incident the IAF said the fighter jet took off for a “routine operational training sortie” from a nearby air force base.
“Soon thereafter, the pilot experienced an onboard emergency, following which he attempted to recover the aircraft as per existing procedures. Having failed to do so, he initiated an ejection, sustaining minor injuries in the process,” the Air Force said.
It added: “The aircraft wreckage fell on a house in Bahlol Nagar in Hanumangarh District, unfortunately leading to the loss of three lives.”
Following the tragedy, the IAF launched an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the crash.
The investigation resulted in a decision on Monday, May 20, 2023, to ground the aging MiG-21 fleet.
“As per the standard procedure, one-time checks are going on for which the fleet was grounded after the crash. Aircraft are back in the air as the checks progress,” an official told The Hindu.
The checks of the entire fleet should be completed very soon, the official added.
There are currently three MiG-21 Bison squadrons in the IAF which are scheduled to be phased out by 2025.
According to India Today, in February 2021, the government secured an agreement 83 Tejas jets from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
36 Rafale jets have already been obtained and the IAF is in the process of purchasing 114 Medium Role Fighter Aircraft.