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Friday, Jun 13, 2003

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Opinion - Letters

MiG crash

This is with reference to "Are MiGs flights of farewell?" (Business Line, June 12). The recent MiG crash has once again demonstrated the fact that the Indian Air Force's large Russian-made MiG fleet has an embarrassing safety record.

There have been over 350 crashes involving these aircraft in the last 13 years, with over 170 pilots losing their lives. These incidents have earned MiGs the notorious epithet "flying coffins".

The main cause for such frequent crashes of MiGs is attributed to non-availability of Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs) in India.

It was rightly cautioned by Mr Vladimir Barkovsky, the Deputy Chief Designer of MiG Corporation, that the delay in the induction of indigenous intermediate jet trainer by India was the main cause of the high accident rate of MiG-21s.

Paucity of funds could no longer be a valid reason for delay in purchase of the AJTs since the MiG crashes have cost the country between Rs 7,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore.

The Centre should rise up to the seriousness of the problem and take expeditious and concrete steps to procure AJTs without waiting for any more MiG mishaps.

C. Ramesh

Keeramangalam (TN)

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