Two Indian fighter pilots were killed when their aircraft, a Soviet-era MiG-21, crashed during a training sortie on Thursday evening, the Indian Air Force said .
The MiG-21 crashed in the desert of the state of Rajasthan (north-west), near the city of Barmer, said the Ministry of Defense.
It is the sixth MiG-21 to crash, bringing the number of pilots killed since January 2021 to five.
According to the Indian Air Force (IAF), the trainer had “suffered an accident” and an investigation was ordered to determine the origin of the crash.
"The IAF deeply regrets the loss of life and stands firmly with the bereaved families," the Air Force said on Twitter.
According to footage released by local media, burning debris was strewn across a wide area.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of the two pilots.
“Their service to the nation will never be forgotten,” Mr. Singh wrote on Twitter.
MiG-21s entered service in India in the 1960s and were the backbone of the air force for decades, but their poor safety record earned them the nickname "flying coffins". .
India is investing billions of dollars in modernizing its military equipment, driven by its longstanding antagonism with Pakistan and growing tensions with China.
The Air Force has acquired dozens of French Rafale fighter jets, deliveries of which began in 2020.