The blackbox data of the Indian Air Force's Mirage 2000 fighter jet that crashed at Yemlur Airport in Bengaluru on February 1 killing both pilots have suggested that it was not due to pilot error and it is likely that the accident happened due to technical malfunction related to sensors.
Two IAF pilots testing the upgraded Mirage 2000, Squadron Leader Samir Abrol and Squadron Leader Siddhartha Negi, were killed in the crash, which took place during a test sortie.
The aircraft which crashed on February 1 had been subjected to six test flights by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Both Negi and Abrol were from the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE). One of the two pilots had ejected successfully from the plane, but he died after falling on the debris of the crashed aircraft. The other pilot was rushed to a hospital but he succumbed to his injuries.
The crashed happened when Negi and Abrol were taking out the Mirage to check the upgrade of avionics and electronic warfare capabilities of the planes.
A Court of inquiry to ascertain the exact reason behind the cause of the crash is still on.
ASTE is the only test centre of the IAF for field trials of its fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters that are indigenous or imported from other countries.
HAL, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) also use the ASTE for evaluating aircraft, helicopters, weapons, sub-systems and other aerial warfare equipment manufactured in India.
The state-run HAL upgraded Mirage 2000 was originally built by the French aerospace major Dassault Aviation. It is to be noted that the aircraft crashed moments after taking off from the runaway.
The Indian government had signed a deal worth USD 2.4 billion deal with Dassault in 2011 to upgrade its fleet of 51 Mirage-2000 fighters. These fighter jets were bought by the IAF in the 1980s.