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India phasing out MiG-21 fighter aircraft: Antony

The Indian Air Force currently operates a little over 200 MiG-21s

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Air Force has initiated the process to phase out MiG-21 fighter aircraft, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The MiG-21 aircraft are in their final phase of service and in the process of phase-out, he said answering supplementaries in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

Antony said the IAF maintains a mix of old and new aircraft in its fleet and each plane has a life span of 30-40 years.

The Minister dismissed criticism over the crash of Kiran trainer aircraft during an air show at Begumpet airfield in Hyderabad in March.

He said the Kiran aircraft was inducted in the Navy in 1985 and the fleet has reported only three accidents in the past 25 years. All accidents are taken seriously by the government.

On compensation to crash victims, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said it would be awarded by the Navy on completion of the Court of Inquiry.

In the interim period, as a precaution, one time check of the engine and flying controls of the entire Kiran fleet of the Indian Navy has been undertaken, the Minister said.

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