Are India's ageing air force planes falling out of the sky? 'Flying coffin' The Russian-made aircraft The MiG jet in particular has become known as the "flying coffin" or the "widow maker". Two years ago, India's then defence minister told an astonished parliament that more than half the 872 MiGs it had purchased from Russia had been-lost in accidents, at a cost of over 200 lives. Apparently, pilots regularly complain that some MiG models land too fast and that the design of the window canopy means they can't see the runway properly. The Russians have also been accused of being tardy with supplies of spare parts. India - now the world's largest arms importer - is increasingly turning to the West for its weapons. The US is now its number one supplier. It fears, Western nations will hold up critical spare parts and support "as a means of political leverage on India", something he believes the Russians are less prone to do. The new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, partly won office on the back of hopes he will put India on course to becoming a superpower and has promised to modernise the military. But it's an old challenge, says retired navy officer Uday Bhaskar. "Finding the solution is something that's eluded every Indian leader until now."