Ambala: An Indian Air Force Jaguar pilot jettisoned fuel tanks of his aircraft after one of the engines of the fighter jet failed after being hit by a bird. However, the pilot managed to land the plane safely at the Ambala Air Base. Small practice bombs jettisoned by the aircraft have also been recovered, news agency ANI reported.
Officials in the IAF said that the Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft was en route to a training sortie when one of the engines got a bird hit. “The pilot jettisoned his fuel tanks and external stores, which included around 10 kgs of practice bombs to gain height and managed to land safely,” new agency ANI quoted the officials as saying.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh earlier this week claimed that the Indian Air Force has so far lost 33 aircrafts, which includes 19 fighter jets, in crashes since 2015-16. An An-32 helicopter of the IAF crashed in Arunachal Pradesh just minutes before taking off on June 3, killing all 13 Air Force personnel on board.
During 2015-16, as many as four IAF fighter jets met with accidents, which included one helicopter, a transporter and a trainer aircraft. Six fighter jets, two helicopters and one trainer crashed in 2016-17 while in 2017-18, the IAF lost two fighter jets and three trainer aircraft in crashes, Singh told Parliament on Wednesday.
However, 2018-19 saw a spike in those numbers after the two IAF helicopters, two trainer aircraft, seven fighter jets, which also included an MiG-21 fighter jet that was brought down when Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman engaged in a dogfight with Pakistan Air Force fighter jets on February 27. Incidentally, the very same morning, as Mi-17 helicopter also crashed, killing six IAF personnel.