IAF`s frontline Mirage-2000 back in action

IAF`s frontline Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft, which were temporarily grounded following two crashes in February and March, have begun operational sorties following a detailed investigation of their systems and components.

Updated: Apr 27, 2012, 20:48 PM IST

New Delhi: IAF`s frontline Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft, which were temporarily grounded following two crashes in February and March, have begun operational sorties following a detailed investigation of their systems and components.

"The Mirage-2000 aircraft are being progressively checked and cleared for flying one by one," said the IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Gerard Galway on Friday.

Sources said the aircraft were cleared for sorties few days ago following a thorough inspection of their systems.

The fleet was grounded for inspection for almost a month, they said.
The IAF had temporarily grounded the entire fleet of Gwalior-based Mirage-2000 aircraft to carry out detailed investigation of their systems and components following two crashes within a span of 11 days in February and March.

Both the crashes took place within minutes of the aircraft taking off from its base on routine training sorties.

Pilots flying the trainer version of the aircraft had managed to bail out safely and escaped the crash with minor injuries. IAF has already set up a Court of Inquiry (CoI) to look into the reasons for the crash.

A team of engineers and technicians from French firm Dassault, which built these aircraft, had also arrived at Gwalior to assist the IAF personnel in the investigations.

The first crash took place on February 24 near Bhind in Madhya Pradesh soon after takeoff.

The second accident took place on March 5, 100 km south-west of Jaipur near a village in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan.

These aircraft were inducted into the IAF in the mid-80s and have proven their sound flight safety record.

The IAF has 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.

PTI