No proposal for setting up air wing for Army: Antony
Defence Minister AK Antony denied that there was any proposal to set up a special air wing under the Army`s control.
New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday denied that there was any proposal to set up a special air wing under the Army`s control, saying the Army Aviation Corps is already in place for the purpose.
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, he said, "No such proposal is under consideration. The Army Aviation Corps was created with the approval of the government on December 17, 1992."
The Defence Ministry was asked whether army has any plans to form a special wing for air force under its control.
On whether government proposes to induct attack helicopters in the army, Antony said, "Induction of state-of- art equipment and requisite manpower in the armed forces is a continuous process keeping in view the prevailing threat perception."
He also informed the House that the permanent cadre for officers of Army Aviation Corps has been in existence since 1998.
On how many countries have attack helicopters as part of their army and not air force, Antony said, "As per available information in open domain, some countries like USA, UK, France and Germany have attack helicopters as part of their army."
Replying to a separate question on chopper crash in Jamnagar, the Minister said, "There was a mid-air collision of two Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters at air force station, Jamnagar on August 30, 2012 during a flying exercise when the two helicopters were in close proximity to each other."
Five pilots and four service personnel were killed in the accident, he added.
On steps taken by government to curb recurrence of such mishaps, Antony said that every IAF aircraft accident is thoroughly investigated by the Court of Inquiry (CoI) to ascertain the cause of accident and remedial measures are taken accordingly.
In reply to a question on Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft crash, Antony said, "During the previous financial year 2011-12 and current FY 2012-13 (upto December 10), one accident involving Su-30 MKI aircraft has taken place on December 13, 2011. No pilot/service personnel was killed in the accident."
"Cause of the accident was human error (servicing)," he said.
Replying a question on incident of Navy helicopter crash, the Defence Minister said, "Two Naval officers and one Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) died in the helicopter crash on October 15, 2012 at Goa. A Board of Inquiry has been ordered into the crash."
On procurement of light utility helicopters for Navy, he said, "A Request for Proposal for procurement of 56 twin engine Naval Utility Helicopter has been issued as replacement of Chetak and Medium Range Anti-submarine Torpedo Carrying Helicopters (MATCH)."