A MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed today evening near Rajasthan's Jaisalmer, killing the pilot Wing Commander Harshit Sinha.
Confirming the news, the official handle of the Air Force tweeted, "This evening, around 8:30 pm, a MiG-21 aircraft of IAF met with a flying accident in the western sector during a training sortie. Further details are awaited. An inquiry is being ordered."
The crash has once again turned the spotlight on India’s longest-serving fighter plane, its safety record and the IAF's plans to replace the ageing jets with newer ones in the coming years.
Several MiG-21 crashes have been reported this year alone. The aircraft has been dubbed "flying coffin" as it makes news regularly for crashes. From 1971 to April 2012, as many as 482 MiG aircraft have met with accidents, killing 171 pilots, 39 civilians, eight service personnel, and one aircrew, the government had told Parliament in May 2012. "The causes of accidents were both human error and technical defects," the government had said.