New Delhi: In view of a large number of
crashes involving the MiG-21s, the Indian Air Force (IAF)
on Thursday said it has decided that after December 2012 only
experienced pilots will fly the fighter jet aircraft.
IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) N A K Browne today said
those undergoing training in the ongoing course for trainee
pilots would be the last batch of young pilots flying the
"Their (trainee pilots) course finishes in December next
year and thereafter only experienced pilots would be flying
the MiG-21s," he told reporters here.
The IAF Chief was replying to a query on the steps taken
by the force to reduce the number of accidents in wake of two
recent crashes in which two IAF pilots were killed.
Browne added that the decision was taken due to the lack
of availability of the aircraft and it would have happened a
little earlier in case of an early delivery of Hawk Advance
Jet Trainers (AJT).
"We have to do this because there is no other aircraft
available. If the Hawk had come two years before as planned,
the MiG-21s would have been kept for experienced pilots only,"
Observing that the training of young pilots is an area of
concern for the force, ACM Browne said he hoped that the new
basic trainers would be inducted into the IAF by 2013.
"Training is a big concern for us. At the moment we don`t
have a basic trainer aircraft and the case is with the
government. We hope to get it cleared so that at least we can
sign the contract by October, and we get the new trainers by
2013 when we start the new (flying training) course," he said.
The IAF had inducted over 900 MiG-21s in its fleet over a
period of 40 years, half of which were lost in different
crashes. The MiG-21s are scheduled to be phased out by 2017.