India -- An Air Force At What Cost?

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Friday, an Indian air force MiG-21 crashed in a residential area near Jamnagar, killing at least four people on the ground and injuring 14. The pilot ejected with minor injuries. It was the second MiG-21 crash this month and at least the 30th in less than four years. Investigators haven't been able to find two of the lost 40-year-old aircraft. At least 17 pilots have died. Saturday's crash renewed calls to scrap the old jets, or to at least properly train the pilots who fly them. The challenging MiG-21, with its 210-mph landing speed, is usually the first assignment for rookie pilots coming out of training on much more docile aircraft, according to the Times of India. "I have been shouting at the top of my voice that the MiGs should be withdrawn because they are faulty, but nothing has happened," said Kavita Gadgil, whose son died in one. "Why should pilots die in the air and villagers down below?" The Indian air force is reportedly on the verge of phasing out the MiG-21, but since it makes up half the combat fleet, it could be a long transition. A faulty fuel pump, the cause of some previous crashes, is a possible suspect in this accident according to The Telegraph, of Calcutta.