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An Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot had a narrow escape after a MiG-27 aircraft crashed on Tuesday morning during a routine sortie near Jodhpur. The pilot ejected safely, a defence spokesperson said. The IAF has also ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident, which is the third mishap involving its ageing MiG-27 fleet in the past year.
While India has retired its MiG 27ML squadrons, two Jodhpur-based squadrons are still in service with upgraded MiG-27. In June, a MiG-27 aircraft on a routine mission crashed in a residential area in Jodhpur, even though the pilot ejected safely just minutes before the accident. Two houses and a vehicle parked nearby suffered major damages, while there was no loss of life.
In November last year, the tyre of a MiG-27 aircraft burst while landing following which it got stuck in the runaway in Jodhpur. In the last 10 years, over 90 fighter jets, including 11 MiG-27s, have crashed, a report tabled in the Parliament said. Inquiries have revealed that majority of the MiG-27s went down because of “technical defects”.
This year the IAF has witnessed a series of crashes involving its aircraft. In July, a MiG-21 aircraft crashed near village Patta Jatian in Jawali area of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh, killing the lone pilot. In June too, an IAF Jaguar fighter aircraft crashed at Beraja village near Mundra in Kutch district, killing the pilot.