New Delhi: The fleet of frontline Mirage 2000
fighter aircraft remained grounded on Friday for the fifth day as
investigations went on into the two air crashes that occurred
within a gap of 11 days.
Two whole fleet of 49 Mirage 2000 aircraft was grounded
for preliminary checks after the two crashes of which the
first took place on February 24 and the second on March 5.
The aircraft did not fly even today. The investigations
by an expert team are going on, IAF officials said here.
The Mirage 2000 has a very good flight safety record as
only six of them have crashed since their induction in
operational service in the mid 1980s.
The first aircraft crashed while it was being flown by
Air Officer Personnel (AOP) Air Marshal Anil Chopra a few
minutes after it took off from its home base in Gwalior.
The first aircraft had crashed due to technical snags in
the engine and the reasons for it are being ascertained, they
The IAF is worried over the occurrence of these problems
in the aircraft after over two and a half decades.
The IAF has also recently signed two deals worth over
USD 3.2 billion for upgrading the capabilities of the Mirage
2000 with French companies Dassault, Thales and MBDA.
Dassault was recently awarded the contract for supplying
126 Rafale aircraft to the IAF.