Air Force’s MiG 21 Bison Crashes in Rajasthan’s Bikaner, Pilot Ejects Safely

An Indian Air Force MiG 21 Bison crashed in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district today, 12 km outside the Bikaner city. The pilot of the fighter jet ejected safely.

Bikaner’s superintendent of police, told the PTI that the MiG-21 jet crashed in Bikaner’s Shoba Sar ki Dhani area.

The fighter jet had taken off from Indian Air Force’s Nal air base in Rajasthan and the MiG 21 was on it’s routine operations, reports suggest that the jet crashed due to a bird hit.

Visuals show a fire tender at the site of the crash.

A court of enquiry was ordered by the IAF to investigate the cause of the crash.

The crash comes at a time when there are severe tensions between India and Pakistan. Both the Indian Air Force and the Pakistan Air Force were involved with a dog fight on the 27th of February in the skies, which resulted in brief capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman by Pakistan.

MiG 21 History

The MiG 21 was inducted into the Indian Air Force in 1960’s. The IAF have close to 113 MiG 21’s in operation. However the MiG 21 have a very poor safety record. Between 1966 and 1984 more than half of the 840 aircrafts manufactured were lost to crashes globally.

The engine operates very close to its surge line and the ingestion of even a small bird can lead to an engine surge/seizure and flame out. Since 1970 more than 170 Indian pilots and 40 civilians have been killed in MiG-21 accidents. India started modernising the 1960’s fighter jet after 1999 renaming modernised MiG 21’s as MiG 21 Bison.