A MiG-21 fighter aircraft crashed on Tuesday near Naal airfield in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district, killing the pilot.
The aircraft had taken off around noon from here and was being flown by flying officer MS Pillai, defence spokesman Col SD Goswami said.
“The pilot had ejected, but died due to injuries,” he added.
The MiG-21 ‘Type-96’ aircraft was on a routine sortie and crashed during the landing phase, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said in a statement. The IAF has ordered an inquiry into the crash near the airfield, about 15km from Bikaner city. There were no reports of injury to anyone on the ground or damage to property.
Bikaner superintendent of police Habib Gouran said the crash site was about 3km away from the airfield.
This is the second crash of a fighter aircraft this year. On February 4, a MiG-21 ‘Bison’ fighter plane had crashed, apparently due to an engine problem, while on a routine sortie in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district, but the pilot had ejected safely.
Of the 10 IAF aircraft crashes reported in 2010, four were MiG-27s and two MiG-21s.
On Monday, defence minister AK Antony said in the Lok Sabha 24 fighter aircraft accidents had taken place in the last three years, in which four service personnel and five civilians lost their lives.
Of these accidents, 23% were due to human error, he had added.