Indian press on causes of crashes of MIG-21 fighters

The root cause of the great number of crashes of the MiG-21 fighters of the Indian Air Force is the very bad maintenance and the lack of training aircraft, the influential Indian newspaper Financial Express writes on Monday. The latest crash of a MiG-21 Bis which occurred on May 2nd took the lives of eight people in the city of Jalandhar (Punjab state). The flier managed to eject. This type of aircraft is the best of the MiG-21's variants made by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) company. All in all, 250 MiG-21 Bis fighters were produced before the beginning of the 1990s, 123 of which are now being modernised in the HAL. According to Financial Express, from the beginning of the 1990s Russia stopped operating the MiG-21 and producing spare parts for it, and for this reason India has to buy low-quality spare parts in the East-European countries. The official statistics claim that 283 crashes occurred from 1991 to 2000, in which the Air Force of India lost 221 aircraft, and 100 pilots perished. As many as 62 per cent of the cases involved the MiG-21 fighters made by the HAL in the 1960s. The "human factor" caused 42 per cent of the crashes, technical malfunctions - 44 per cent, and collisions with birds - 7 per cent. As for the training of Indian Air Force pilots, the mass media note the complete absence of the necessary equipment and infrastructure. The question of buying an up-to-date training aircraft has been at the stage of final decision for more than sixteen years.

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