IAF lost 27 aircraft, including 15 fighter jets and choppers, in crashes since 2016: Govt

In a written reply to a question, Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the Russian-make AN-32 aircraft is the "workhorse" of the IAF transport fleet and "there is no plan to phase it out" as they have "useful residual life". 

IAF lost 27 aircraft, including 15 fighter jets and choppers, in crashes since 2016: Govt
Image credits: (File photo)

New Delhi: As many as 33 Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft, including 19 fighter jets, met with accidents since 2015-16, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has informed Lok Sabha.

In a written reply to a question, Singh told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the Russian-make AN-32 aircraft is the "workhorse" of the IAF transport fleet and "there is no plan to phase it out" as they have "useful residual life". 

An AN-32 aircraft crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3 killing 13 Air Force personnel. 

 

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During 2015-16, IAF's four fighter jets, one helicopter, transporter and trainer aircraft each met with accidents, he said. 

In the 2016-17 fiscal, six IAF fighter jets, two helicopters, and one trainer crashed. In 2017-18, the Air Force lost two fighter jets and three trainer aircraft in crashes.

The number rose sharply in 2018-19 with the IAF losing seven fighter jets, two helicopters and two trainers.
 
This included the crash of the MiG-21 fighter jet which was being piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman during a dogfight with Pakistan Air Force planes on February 27.

On the same day, an Mi-17 helicopter also crashed killing six air force personnel. 

In 2019-20, so far, an AN-32 transport aircraft crashed in Arunachal Pradesh, killing 13 air force personnel earlier this month. 

Defending the AN-32 aircraft, Singh said it has not met with frequent accidents. 

"In the last four years, in addition to the crash on June 3, 2019 only one AN-32 was lost on July 22, 2016 while flying over the Bay of Bengal," he said.

Singh added that a part of the AN-32 fleet has been upgraded with better avionics and airframe reinforcement. 

"The remaining part are planned to be upgraded in a phased manner," he said.