NEW DELHI: A MiG-27 aircraft of the Indian Air Force on Monday crashed in a residential area of Jodhpur, however pilots flying the aircraft ejected safely.
The Ministry of defence in an official statement said the crash took place around 11.30 am. There was no loss of lives on the ground. However, a house was partially damaged.
“The aircraft took off from Jodhpur Air Base and was on a routine training-flying sortie. The pilot ejected safely. A Court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the accident,” the Ministry said.
This is not the first time that an MiG has crashed. In fact, its vulnerability has earned it the moniker ‘flying coffin’. The government figure that was tabled in Parliament last year revealed that between 2012 and July 2015, 20 fighter aircrafts crashed including 3 Sukhoi, 12 MiG and 5 Jaguar.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had told Parliament that main reasons for the crashes were technical defects and human error. The estimated loss create by 12 accidents was Rs 386 crore.
Data from the Ministry of Defence reveals that half of all IAF plane crashes in the past four years, half involved MiG fighters.
Express dug out a confidential report which shows that MiGs have been facing serious problems. The Ministry of Defence report of 2013 with this newspaper reveals that “there have been cases of engine withdrawals (R-29 AERO Engine for MiG-27) due to —
a) Oil leak from nose bullet
b) metallic particles were found in the oil filter and chip detector
c) hot air leak from inspection windows of various stages of compressor
d) hot air leak from rear casing/flanges
e) wear out of inter-stage labyrinths of compressor & turbine.”
The report also says, “There has been One Cat-I accident and 10 Cat-V incidents on R-29 engines during FY 2012-13. The accidents and incidents are mainly due to LPTR failure, (Low Pressure Turbine Rotor), HPTR failure, ADT (fuel metering valve drive connection) failure and ‘Engine Overheat’ light coming on... Most of the cause factors can be classified as defects during manufacturing/overhaul process.”
There is more scathing observation on MiG-21 T-75 and Bison ( R-25/R-25U Aeroengine). The confidential report said; “The springs installed in fuel pump aggregates of R-25 aero engines are failing frequently. MiG-21 Bison aircraft accident, which occurred in November 2012, has been attributed to failure of springs due to surface corrosion.”
The report observed fuel leaks from Main fuel pumps saying “there have been high failures of MFP since 1990s due to fuel leak from pump drive end, throttle lever and centrifugal governor end of main fuel pump of R-25/R-25 U aero engines.”