There is much debate in India that the MIG 21 is a flying coffin as a number have crashed and pilots killed. Before we accept this statement we must examine the MIG 21 in detail. This aircraft came into India when the Western powers had denied the IAF any comparative aircraft while arming Pakistan with the F-104(Star fighter).
Mr. Krishna Menon the defense minister in the fifties and early sixties accordingly approached the Russians and the deal for the MIG 21 was struck. The Russians also agreed to manufacture the plane in India and accordingly manufacture commenced at Nasik plant ofHAL.
The MIG 21 was a Mach 2 + plane and could easily approach a supersonic speed. It was a versatile interceptor and was at that time the stock aircraft of the Soviet Air Force. The plane came to India with latest avionics and the IAF made it the work horse. In fact at one time 60% of the squadrons were equipped with the MIG 21 and obviously it stands to reason that the maximum flying was also done by the MIG’s.
The MIGs entered the IAF in late fifties of the last century and are still
The MIG has been crashing. This makes headlines, but what is not known that the maximum flying (almost 60%) at one time was done by the MIG’s. There fore the chance of an air crash is that much more. It must be noted that per 100 hours of flying the MIG has a very low rate of attrition. It is a good machine but needs to be carefully handled.
The MIG is certainly not a coffin. It is a fine plane and will go into the sunset in a blaze of glory. The MIG has now been service for over 50 years. That’s a pretty long time and spans an era in the IAF