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MiG-21 Jet Crashes In Rajasthan’s Barmer – Free PDF Download


What has happened?

  • Two pilots have been killed when a MiG-21 fighter aircraft crashed in Rajasthan’s Barmer district on Thursday evening.
  • The debris of the aircraft was found scattered on a half-kilometer stretch in Bhimda village in Barmer.
  • Two fire brigades of Cairn Vedanta reached the spot of the accident but they struggled to control the fire.

  • The MiG-21 aircraft was involved in a sortie over the Baytu region when the crash happened.
  • The exact reason for the crash is not known yet.
  • The Indian Air Force has ordered a court of inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.

About Mig-21

  • MiG-21, which is a single-engine multirole fighter or ground attack aircraft of Soviet era, Was upgraded in 2006 with features including better avionics, powerful multi-mode radars, and the capability of transporting a wide range of guided munitions.
  • The ‘Bison’ is an upgraded version of MiG-21.
  • Once operated in a huge numbers as the backbone of the Indian Air Force, four squadrons of the type remain.
  • Upgrades and upkeep have kept the jets not just fit for flight, but effective in combat too.
  • It was a MiG-21 Bison that went head to head with inbound Pakistan Air Force jets in the post-Balakot air skirmish over the Line of Control.

The problem

  • This is not the first time the Soviet-origin plane has crashed.
  • Since 1963, 872 MiG-21s have been inducted by the IAF.
  • In the past 51 years, over 400 MiG-21s have crashed and killed more than 200 pilots and almost 50 civilians on the ground.
  • Spate of crashes, many of them fatal, has amplified the urge to see the backs of these ageing jets as quickly as possible.
  • The IAF has consistently held that there is never a single compromise on keeping aircraft flightworthy, no matter how old they are.

When the Bison will be replaced?

  • The Indian Air Force will soon have its first full squadron of indigenous Tejas jets.
  • With the IAF signing up for over 100 more Tejas jets, most of them of an improved variety, the IAF leadership could theoretically be in a position to hasten the retirement of its MiG-21 fighters.
  • The challenges of squadron strength and depleting numbers, however, make any drastic moves unlikely and difficult.
  • The IAF’s 12 squadrons of Sukhoi-30 MKI have gradually replaced the MiG-21 BIS.
  • The Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft is superior to the MiG-21 in all aspects – weapon payload, fuel storage capacity and mission capabilities.
  • The Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft can carry a 8.5-ton weapon payload, while the MiG-21 BIS carries only two tons of armament.
  • Therefore, in terms of firepower or weapon payload alone, a Sukhoi-30 MKI is as good as four MiG-21 BIS aircraft.

Squadrons with IAF

  • The IAF has 33 fighter aircraft squadrons.
  • Each squadron has 16 aircraft plus two trainer aircraft, which are two-seaters.
  • This amounts to over 500 fighter aircraft.
  • The IAF’s sanctioned strength is a force level of 42 fighter squadrons to fight a two-front war, with Pakistan and China simultaneously.

Why 42 squadrons?

  • The industry icon and Indian aviation pioneer JRD Tata, who held the honorary two-star general IAF rank of Air Vice Marshal, headed a committee in the early 1960s to study the requirements for a fighter aircraft fleet.
  • Its recommendations made the government authorise a force level of 42 fighter squadrons to counter threats from erstwhile West Pakistan, East Pakistan and China.
  • At that time, the IAF flew World War II vintage US-built Liberator bombers, among others, and the MiG-21, the workhorse of the fighter fleet, was yet to join service.
  • Subsequently, the mainstay of the IAF’s 42 squadron strength was the Soviet-era MiG-21 aircraft and its variants with different weapon payloads or armament carrying capacities.
  • These aircraft were used for air defence as well as strike and air-to-ground missions.
  • Now, almost all of them have been retired from IAF squadron service, except three modified MiG-21 BIS (Bison) squadrons.
  • These aircraft, too, will exit the IAF over the next few years.

Q) What is the name of the Biggest Airborne Exercise conducted by the Indian Army till now?

  1. Him Vijay
  2. Dhruv Sakthi
  3. Winged Raider
  4. Yudh Abhiyas




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