Tuesday, March 25, 2008

30 Fighter jets crashed in past 4 years

The Ministry of Defence released the details of fighter crashes over the past 4 years, from 2004 to 2008.

The numbers are not nice to see... almost 2 squadrons lost over the past four years. This, not counting losses of helicopters or other aircraft. 2004-2005 seems to have been the worst year, with 11 crashes, followed by 2006-07.

More concerning is the loss of relatively newer aircraft like the Mirage and Mig-29s. The silver lining is of course that we no longer have the large accident rates of the early part of this decade, when birds were dropping out of the sky at alarmingly regular intervals.

However, even at the reduced attrition rates, the numbers make a compelling case for quick upgradation and new acquisition of combat aircraft. These birds aren't getting any younger, and unless the Government wishes to see the Mirages, Mig-29s and Mig-27s drop dead like the Fishbeds before them, they must quicken the pace of acquisitions like the MRCAs, and even more importantly, upgrades. These aircraft form the bulk of the IAF's strike fleet, and obsolescence of these birds will create a gaping hole in our defence readiness. Pakistan and China are inducting new aircraft at alarming rates, and our Air Force must not have to face them will 30 year old, blind and gout-stricken birds.

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