IAF lost 29 fighter planes in past 3 years: Minister
New Delhi: In the last three years, the Indian Air Force has lost 29 fighter planes including 12 MiG 21s in crashes in which six pilots lost their lives, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.
The aircraft lost in the crashes were 12 MiG 21s, eight MiG 27s, four Su-30MKis, two each Jaguars and Mirage 200 and one MiG 29, Defence Minister A K Antony said in reply to a written question.
"In these accidents, a total of six pilots and six civilians have lost their lives. Apart from loss of lives, 39 civilian properties were damaged. Compensation paid for the loss of lives of pilots and for civilians who were are killed or injured was Rs 60 lakh and Rs 40.4 lakh respectively," he said.
Answering another query, the Minister said the IAF was short of 515 pilots but the available strength was sufficient to meet its operational requirements.
"The strength of pilots as on 1st March, 2013 is 3410 against the sanctioned strength of 3925. Based on the planned induction of new aircraft and weapon systems in the 12th plan, about 440 pilots are required to be inducted into the IAF per annum," Antony said.
Answering another query, the Minister said 12,634 acres of defence land is under encroachment and the CBI has registered cases against retired Army officers for criminal conspiracy in dealings related to defence land in Pune and Mumbai.
To a query on the DRDO, he said a total of 443 scientists have resigned from the premier defence research agency during the last five years.