The family members of Indian Air Force Pilot Flight Lieutenant Advitiya Bal, a resident of Jammu, who died in Rajashtan Mig-21 crash on Thursday, appealed to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to discard Mig-21 aircrafts from the defence fleet to save lives of air-force personnel.
Flight Lieutenant Advitiya Bal of Jammu was among two ill-fated pilots of Air Force, who died after a twin-seater MiG-21 aircraft crashed in Rajasthan’s Barmer yesterday.
Uncle of Bal urged the defence minister to immediately ground the Soviet-era fighter jets before it take another life in accident.
“We have lost everything, we can only appeal the defence minister to stop using MiG 21 jets before another crash takes away yet another precious life,” Kamaljeet Bal, the uncle of slain flight lieutenant, who is an ex-soldier told reporters.
Remembering Bal, his uncle said that he was a young man charged with the idea of serving his country.
“We are proud of him as he has brought fame to his village and all of Jammu,” he said.
He further added that since from childhood Bal wanted to don the uniform and serve in armed forces as fighter pilot.
“An alumni of Sainik School, Nagrota, he was commissioned through the National Defence Academy (NDA) in 2014. He passed the Indian Air Force Academy, Hyderabad, in 2018. Though his dream has come true, he is not with us anymore,” he said.
The demand to discontinue MiG 21 is not new. The fighter aircraft carries a long list of accident and tragedies since it induction into the Indian Air Force. India got its first single-engine MiG-21 in 1963, and it progressively inducted 874 variants of the Soviet-origin supersonic fighters to bolster its combat potential.
As per reports, IAF will be retiring one more squadron of the MiG-21 Bison aircraft by September this year and phase out the remaining fleet by 2025. (KNO)