India will shut down all of the Soviet-era Russian fighter aircrafts, including the MiG-21 and MiG-21, by 2025 after the death of two of its officers in an accident, the latest in a string of deaths resulting from the single engine aircraft’s failure, a news agency published on Saturday.
The Times of India quoted unidentified Indian Air Force officials as declaring that the MiG-21s are passed retirement but have to be replaced prior to being grounded.
The report didn’t provide what percentage of India’s fighter jet capability could be affected. According to the news outlet Wion news site reported that the air force had about 70 MiG-21s. The defence ministry have purchased aircraft from Western makers in recent times.
A top official from the defence ministry did not either confirm or disprove that Times of India report in a statement to Reuters that discussions regarding how to proceed with the MiG-21 were ongoing, since the source of spare components from Russia became increasingly difficult because of the war in Ukraine.
A spokesman for the defence ministry did not immediately reply to a query for clarification.
The MiG-21 was called “flying coffins” by the Indian media is the country’s main fighter aircraft since its launch in 1963, but it has been affected by crashes in the later times.
The aircraft have been an essential security asset within India’s military infrastructure. It was employed for instance in order to strike neighbor Pakistan following an alleged suicide attack within the region of the Kashmir region in the year 2019.
The crash on Thursday that involved an Air Force MiG-21 Bison in Rajasthan’s states of Rajasthan. Rajasthan adds six deaths to in the total number of MiG-21 crashes in the last year, with five officers being killed as per official figures and the source.
In 2012, the then Defence Minister A.K. Antony in the Parliament told lawmakers the country’s MiG-21s were lost in crashes in the last four decades.