Does a country like India needs an enemy to destroy its warplanes when its air force has lost around a dozen aircraft in less than six months, this year, the latest being an AN-32, whose wreckage was spotted on Tuesday in a heavily-forested mountainous terrain in Arunachal Pradesh, eight days after it went missing after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat on June 03.
From Mirage 2000 to MiG-27, many of these aircraft had crashed in the month of February, officials said. In January, a Jaguar aircraft of the Indian Air Force had crashed in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district, local police had said.
The military aircraft had crashed soon after taking off on a routine mission from the Gorakhpur Air Force Station. District magistrate Anil Kumar Singh had then said the incident took place around noon time when the pilot had sensed some problem in the plane and turned it towards a safe destination before jumping to safety. On February 19, a pilot was killed and two others had ejected when two aircraft of IAF’s aerobatic team Surya Kiran crashed near the Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru, a day before the opening of the Aero India show. The two Hawk aeroplanes had collided mid-air and crashed, killing Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi and injuring Wing Commander V T Shelke and Squadron Leader T J Singh.
Earlier in February, a Mirage 2000 aircraft of the IAF had crashed at the HAL airport in Bengaluru killing a pilot on the spot and leaving another critically injured, police had said. In the same month, a MiG-27 fighter aircraft of IAF had crashed in Eta village in Pokaran tehsil of Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district.
A MiG-21 Bison and a MiG 29 of the IAF were downed by Pakistan on February 27. Also, on February 27, a Mi-17 helicopter had crashed in Budgam district of occupied Kashmir.
In March, the IAF lost two aircraft. A MiG-27 aircraft had crashed late March near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Early March, a MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the IAF had crashed in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district.
The latest in the string of loss this year for the IAF is the Russian-origin transport aircraft AN-32 that was going from Jorhat in Assam to Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China on June 03 when it lost contact with ground staff at 1:00 pm, within 33 minutes of taking off. “The wreckage of the aircraft was spotted on Tuesday, north east of Tato,” the IAF in a statement said.