New Delhi: Disciplinary action will be taken against two senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officers for the shooting down of a Mi-17 V-5 helicopter in Jammu and Kashmir's Badgam by friendly missile fire on February 27, 2019. Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, in a candid admission of the fatal error by the IAF during a failed attack by the Pakistani Air Force, declared that the Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the fatal incident in which six air force personnel and a civilian were killed has been completed and two officers found guilty.
"We accept this was our big mistake and we will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in future," ACM Bhadauria stated during the annual Air Force press conference on Friday. The IAF Mi-17 V-5 of the Srinagar-based 154 Helicopter Unit was shot down by own SPYDER air defence missile over Budgam about 10 minutes after it took off while IAF fighters were involved in a dogfight with Pakistani jets about 100 km away over the skies of Jammu and Kashmir.
The officers responsible for defence responsibilities at the Srinagar airbase ordered the missile to lock on to the helicopter mistaking the aircraft for an incoming enemy missile.
An Air Commodore-rank officer was ordered to undertake the CoI to find out the lapses behind the fatal error of judgement which not only saw the IAF losing six trained soldiers but also a rotatory wing aircraft. Following the crash, the villagers had even stolen the ill-fated chopper's black box which led to a delay in the investigation.
Just a day earlier on February 26, 2019, IAF MIrage-2000 jets had bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp deep inside Pakistan as the group had carried out a suicide bomb attack on a huge convoy of Central Reserve Police Force in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama. The attack had resulted in the death of at least 40 security personnel leading to a huge cry for retaliation against Pakistan-sponsored terror groups.