MiG-21 Fighter Jets and India
Science & Technology
5th Aug, 2022
The MiG-21 trainer, which had taken off from the rom the Uttarlai airbase, crashed near Bhimda village in Rajasthan. MiG-21 Fighter was developed by the Soviet Union and India being its largest user should focus on its limited uses.
- India is the largest operator of MiG-21s. In 1961, the Indian Air Force (IAF) opted to purchase the MiG-21 over several other Western competitors.
- As part of the deal, the Soviet Union offered India full transfer of technology and rights for local assembly.
- In 1964, the MiG-21 became the first supersonic fighter jet to enter service with the IAF.
- Due to limited induction numbers and lack of pilot training, the IAF MiG-21 played a limited role in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
- However, the IAF gained valuable experience while operating the MiG-21 for defensive sorties during the war.
- Since 1963, India has introduced more than 1,200 MiG fighters into its air force.
- As of 2019, 113 MiG-21s are known to be in operation in the IAF.
What is Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG-21)?
- The Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG-21) is a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.
- Approximately 60 countries across four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations six decades after its maiden flight.
- It became the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history, the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War.
- Speed: Mach 2.05 at altitude; Mach 1.05 at sea level.
- Initial Climb Rate: 58,000 ft/min.
- Range: 585 nm.
- Service Ceiling: 57,400 ft.
- Wingspan: 23.46 ft.
- Length: 40.29 ft.
What is the issue with MiG-21 jets?
However, the plane has been plagued by safety problems.
- Lack of Maintenance: Since 1970 more than 170 Indian pilots and 40 civilians have been killed in MiG-21 accidents. At least 14 MiG-21s have crashed between 2010 and 2013.
- Poor maintenance and quality of replacement parts has been considered to be a factor in this phenomenon
- Design issues: When in afterburner, 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.