Since the Pulwama attacks in February, 9 Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots have lost their lives, but not by enemy fire. If we include the ones killed before the attacks the count reaches to a staggering 12 pilots.
Squadron leaders Samir Abrol and Negi died after the Mirage 2000 jet they were flying crashed at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Airport in Bengaluru on February 1. According to reports, both the pilots had ejected prior to the crash, however, Negi landed on the wreckage and died on the spot. Abrol was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to injuries.
Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi lost his life during a rehearsal for the Aero India Show 2019 when two Hawk aircraft of the aerobatic team Surya Kiran collided midair at the Yelahanka air force station in Bangaluru on Feb 19. The other two pilots, team 2IC Wing Commander Vijay Shelke and Squadron Leader Tejeshwar Singh were injured and rushed to the hospital. According to HAL, which is organising the event, the squadron was from the Bidar Air Force Station and was rehearsing for the final event when the wing of one of the aircraft reportedly hit the other.
In the last 3 months, Indian Air Force lost 9 of its aircrafts, three of them relatively new and 12 pilots. Three of these 9 aircrafts that crashed – two Hawks and the Mirage-2000 – were relatively new. The Mirage 2000 was actually an upgraded aircraft that was on an acceptance sortie.
- Jaguar (Jan 2019)
- Mirage 2000 (Feb 2019)
- MiG-27 (Feb 2019)
- 2 Suriyakiran Hawks (Feb 2019)
- MiG-21 (Feb 2019)
- Mi-17 chopper (Feb 2019)
- MiG-21 (Mar 2019)
- MiG-27 (Mar 2019)
A day after IAF airstrikes in Balakot, Pakistan, an IAF Mi-17 transport chopper crashed in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir during the morning air battle resulting in deaths of all six airmen onboard and a citizen on ground. The chopper crashed within the 10-minute span when IAF jets were engaged in an aerial battle with the Pakistan Air Force fighters, 100 km away along the Line of Control in the Nowshera sector, and air defence systems were on operational alert. The command and control systems were under immense pressure as a ‘fog of war’ prevailed.
The chopper crash has been described as the most tragic fallout in the ongoing tension with Pakistan. It is not clear if the chopper was inadvertently cleared for flight, even after an air intrusion warning was sounded following Indian radar detecting incoming Pakistani jets, or if it was on a search and rescue mission. A defence source said all possible angles will be probed, including the possibility of the chopper taking a ground fire hit, as air-defence systems near Srinagar were operational at the time of the crash.
On Apr 4, two officers of the Indian Air Force were killed and two others injured in a road accident in South Kashmir’s Malangpora village of Pulwama district outside the air force’s base in Awantipora. The deceased jawans have been identified as Squadron Leader Rakesh Pandey and Corporal Ajay Kumar. The wounded are being treated at a hospital. Officials said the accident took place between 3 and 4 am on Thursday morning when the Scorpio, in which the air force personnel were travelling in, met with an accident at the Malangpora village. The police got to know of the accident when the air force personnel informed them.
An IAF Group Captain was killed while his wife and children were critically injured in a road accident on Lucknow-Agra Expressway. According to police, the victim’s car rammed into a divider in Sirsaganj area in this district of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening. Identified as Jasveer Singh, the victim was posted in Panagarh in West Bengal.
For more than 2000 years a war is being waged for the control of India and the access routes connected to it. The Turkey Coup is the beginning of the end of the Great Game, as it is known. With Russia slipping out of their hands, the eyes were set on an unfathomably resource-rich country, which even after thousand years of non-stop plunder and looting still captures the imagination of one and all, thugs, thieves and robber-barons alike with her yet-unknown massive economic resources potential — that country is India.
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- Squadron Leader Sameer Abrol (Feb 1) – Mirage 2000 crash
- Squadron Leader Siddartha Negi Mirage-2000 (Feb 1) – Mirage 2000 crash
- Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi (Feb 19) – Hawk Advanced Jet
- Wing Commander Siddharth Sharma (Feb 27) – Mi-17 crash
- Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane (Feb 27) – Mi-17 crash
- Sergeant Vikrant Sehrawat (Feb 27) – Mi-17 crash
- Corporal Pankaj Kumar (Feb 27) – Mi-17 crash
- Corporal Deepak Pandey (Feb 27) – Mi-17 crash
- Kumar Pandey (Feb 27) – Mi-17 crash
- Squadron Leader Rakesh Pandey (Apr 4) – road accident in Pulwama outside IAF base
- Corporal Ajay Kumar (Apr 4) – road accident in Pulwama outside IAF base
- Group Captain Jasveer Singh (Apr 6) – road accident on Lucknow-Agra Expressway