Indian Air Force lost 30 fighter aircraft, 10 choppers in three years
Indian Air Force (IAF) has lost a total 30 fighter aircraft and 10 helicopters in crashes in last three years which left 26 defence personnel including 13 pilots dead, government told the Lok Sabha today.
In written reply to a question on incidents of air crashes in IAF, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "During the last three years, from 2008-09 to 2010-11, 30 fighter aircraft and 10 helicopters of Indian Air Force (IAF) have crashed."
Antony informed the House that these crashes include 16 fighter aircraft of the MiG-21 series.
"26 defence personnel including 13 pilots have lost their lives (in these crashes). In addition six civilians have also lost their lives," he said.
Underlining that all aircraft accidents in IAF are thoroughly investigated by a Court of Inquiry (Col) to ascertain their cause, he said, "Main causes for the above accidents were Human Error (HE) and Technical Defect (TD)."
Antony said a multi-disciplined study team has been formed by the IAF to review the reasons for such crashes.
Denying that inexperience of pilots is one of the major reasons for these accidents, Antony said steps have been taken by government to train pilots to prevent accidents due to human error.
Some of the measures to improve training of pilots include use of simulators to practise procedures and emergency actions, focused and realistic training with additional emphasis on the critical aspects of mission, introduction of Crew Resource Management and Operational Risk Management.
On phasing out the MiG-21 aircraft, he said, "Decision to phase out aircraft is taken on various factors including their residual life and operational considerations and is reviewed by the government from time to time. This is a continuous process."
Source: NEW DELHI, 12 December 2011 - The Times of India News (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com)
Photo: Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison Fishbed-N (Photo by www.flickr.com)