An Indian MiG-21 Bison fighter jet has crashed near the city of Moga in the northwestern state of Punjab, its pilot has died in the accident, the Indian Air Force said on Friday.
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“A MiG-21 Bison aircraft of Indian Air Force met with an accident in the western sector. The pilot Sqn Ldr Abhinav Choudhary sustained fatal injuries. IAF constitutes a court of inquiry to ascertain the cause of accident,” the Air Force said in a statement.
There was an aircraft accident last night involving a Bison aircraft of IAF in the western sector. The pilot, Sqn Ldr Abhinav Choudhary, sustained fatal injuries. IAF condoles the tragic loss and stands firmly with the bereaved family.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) May 21, 2021
IAF tweet read: There was an aircraft accident last night involving a Bison aircraft of IAF in the western sector. The pilot, Sqn Ldr Abhinav Choudhary, sustained fatal injuries. IAF condoles the tragic loss and stands firmly with the bereaved family.
The fighter took off from the city of Suratgarh in the state of Rajasthan and crashed at the Langiana Khurd village near Moga at about 1:00 a.m. (19:30 GMT on Thursday).
Earlier in March, the Indian Air Force’s MiG-21 jet again provoked angry calls for retiring the country’s once frontline workhorse, which has served India for over 50 years. The jet had crashed after taking off for a combat training mission from an airbase in central India, according to a statement by the IAF.
In January, the IAF lost a MiG-21 jet near Suratgarh in Rajasthan. The aircraft had developed technical issues during a training sortie in the western sector, the IAF had said.
There is a growing uproar for replacing the MiG-21s, which have been the backbone of IAF, with the homegrown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. The Indian Air Force force has operated about 872 MiG-21 fighters since the time they were first inducted in the 1960s.