Warplanes: July 29, 2003


India has finally admitted that the MiG-21 is a dangerous and unreliable aircraft and should be replaced. In the last three years, 52 Indian MiGs (mostly MiG-21s) have crashed. That's some seven percent of the MiG-21 force. The problem the Indians have had is that they tried to use the MiG-21 like a Western aircraft. That is, MiG-21s were flown frequently to provide training for pilots. The MiG-21 was not designed to take that kind of heavy use, but as an aircraft that would be used in a short, intense war, with pilots flying simple maneuvers while being maneuvered by ground controllers. One reason why India refused to confront the MiG-21 safety issue was because the cost of replacing the MiGs was more than they could afford. 


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