All squadrons of MiG-21 to retire by 2025: Indian Air Force
As a result of recent fatal crashes involving Soviet-era fighter jets, safety concerns have grown and authorities are being forced to accelerate the introduction of LCA Tejas aircraft, which is why the Indian Air Force will phase out the remaining fleet of MiG-21 Bison aircraft by 2025 and retire one more squadron by September 30.
Wing Commander M Rana and Flight Lieutenant Advitiya Bal perished in a MiG-21 Type 69 Trainer crash that occurred yesterday in Rajasthan.
"The 51 Squadron based out of Srinagar air base is being number plated on September 30." After this, only three squadrons of the planes would be left in service and they would be phased out by the year 2025, "IAF sources told ANI," adding that one squadron of each of these planes would be number plated every year.
For a long time, the IAF relied heavily on MiG-21s, and the 51st squadron is renowned for successfully repelling Pakistan's aerial assault on India on February 27, 2019. The MiG-21 fighter jets, however, had a very bad safety record. Therefore, the air force has begun replacing them with stronger aircraft like the Su-30 and indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
Five pilots have died in six MiG-21 crashes during the past 20 months.
The LCA Tejas aircraft were scheduled to replace the MiG-21s long ago, but delays in their introduction have compelled the IAF to continue using these aircraft.
Before flying, the IAF conducts thorough inspections of these aircraft, and all safety precautions are taken, according to the officer.
The officials announced that the number-plated squadron will soon be reactivated with a more capable aircraft.
The MiG-21 aircraft crash has once again brought attention to the IAF's ageing fleet of Soviet-made MiG-21 aircraft, which have been in approximately 200 accidents since they were initially introduced in the early 1960s.
The MiG-21 fighter aeroplanes had a very bad safety record, so the Indian Air Force has begun replacing them with more capable planes like the SU-30 and homegrown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).