New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Over the last 40 years, India lost more than half of its MiG combat fleet of 872 aircraft and 171 pilots, the Rajya Sabha was informed Wednesday.
The causes of the accidents were both human error and technical defects, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply.
He said that India bought 872 MiG planes of various types between 1966 and 1980. These were procured from the erstwhile Soviet Union and also built indigenously at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
Of these, "482 MiG aircraft accidents took place from financial year 1971-72 to financial year 2012-13, till April 19, 2012", Antony said.
The country lost 171 pilots, 39 civilians, eight service personnel and an aircrew member in these accidents, the minister said.
The MiG series aircraft were inducted into the Indian Air Force starting from the MiG-21 in the 1960s to the MiG-29 in the 1980s.
"These aircraft were purchased as per rules and procedures of that period. At present, the procurement of capital equipment is carried out as per the Defence Procurement Procedure," Antony said.
The training of initial batches of pilots for MiG aircraft was carried out in the erstwhile Soviet Union, followed by training for the rest of the pilots in India.
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