A MiG-29 interceptor of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday crashed during a training mission near Punjab’s Jalandhar — 117 kilometres (km) from the provincial capital of Pakistan province of Punjab. The pilot ejected safely and was soon taken away in a rescue helicopter, the IAF said in a statement.
“The aircraft had developed a technical snag and the pilot ejected safely as he was unable to control the aircraft. The pilot has been rescued by a helicopter. A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident,” the IAF said.
The MiG-29 is a Soviet-era fast interceptor that has seen action in the Kargil war in 1999. It has also been used to escort other jets on bombing missions from incoming “bandits” or enemy fighter jets.
The IAF operates over 60 MiG-29s, all of which have been upgraded with advanced avionics and better weapons to convert them into multi-role jets that can perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions equally well.
The Soviet-made jet had taken off from Adampur Air Force Station near Jalandhar which is the second-largest military airbase of India. The No. 47 and No 203 Squadrons of the IAF are stationed at this base. Adampur Base played a crucial role in the Indo-Pak War of 1965 as it is within 100 km from the Indo-Pak border.
On February 26 last year, another variant of the jet — the MiG-21 fighters were up against much more modern Pakistani jets during aerial skirmishes.
Indian planes had crossed the line of control and claimed to have bombed what New Dehli described as a terrorist training camp near Balakot. Islamabad had denied the Indian side of the story and provided sufficient evidence to back up its argument.
A day later, Pakistani F-16s and other planes had crossed the line of control to attack Indian forces, New Delhi claimed. Indian MiG-21s were scrambled to intercept when Islamabad shot down two MiG-21s of the IAF. An Indian Air Force MiG-21 pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured by Pakistani security forces.
He was later released as what Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan had said was a goodwill gesture.