Warplanes: February 14, 2003

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India is still trying to deal with it's MiG 21 problems. It has lost 250 of these aircraft since 1991. When consulted, Russia pointed out that India has insisted on making many of the spare parts needed to keep MiG-21s operational, and many of these parts were not manufactured to Russian specifications. While Russia does not have a reputation for making the highest quality equipment, their standards are higher than Indias. It's no secret that much of the military equipment made in India is pretty shabby by world standards. India is trying to address this problem by eliminating the protectionist policies it had followed since 1948. Most of the 110 pilots lost in these MiG-21 accidents were new pilots, which pointed out another problem. India has long put off buying jet trainers. New pilots go straight from propeller driven trainer aircraft, to high performance jets like the MiG-21. This is made worse by the fact that the MiG-21 has always been known as a tricky aircraft to fly. That, in addition to it being an aircraft dependent on one, low quality, engine, makes it more understandable why so many MiGs have been lost. India is now actively seeking a jet trainers, more flight simulators and better quality (ie, more reliable) combat aircraft. 

 


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