In an extremely tragic incidence, the Indian Air Force has confirmed that two senior pilots were killed after the Mirage 2000, which was on an acceptance trial after an upgrade by the HAL, crashed at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airport at Bengaluru this morning.
JUST IN: HAL statement on today’s upgrade Mirage 2000 crash, announces investigation in coordination with the IAF. pic.twitter.com/4p6Fhw8sfP
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One of the pilots landed back on the wreckage after ejecting, while the second pilot died in an operation theatre. The deceased pilots have been identified as Squadron leader Sameer Abrol and Squadron leader Siddarth Negi.
The IAF, in a statement, confirmed that “Today morning a Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft on an acceptance sortie after an upgrade by HAL crashed at HAL airport, Bengaluru. Both occupants sustained fatal injuries. Further details are awaited. The investigation into the cause of the accident is being ordered.”
The state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) makes and upgrades aircraft for training and combat operations of the IAF as the country’s sole defence giant. It also maintains and operates the military airport in Bengaluru.
Recently the IAF had raised concerns over the production delays on the part of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which according to the Air Force would seriously impact the country’s air combat strength.
The IAF who were particularly concerned with the upgrades to the Mirage 2000 and Jaguar fighter fleets, had asserted that HAL has not been able to meet delivery schedules pointing to the two to six-year delays. It said that it expects the upgraded aircraft to be available only by 2024 now. It was mentioned that as per schedule, 21 upgraded Mirage 2000 jets should have delivered but HAL had managed to deliver only 6 after three production delay.
Recently Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa at a seminar in New Delhi had also spoken against the efficiency of HAL by stating that the IAF had sought its first 20 LCA Tejas aircraft as per requirements issued in 1985. Even then, the HAL has been able to manufacture only 10 fighters of these 20.
The Mirage 2000 is a multirole, single engine, fourth generation fighter jet manufactured by Dassault Aviation. HAL is in the process of upgrading it.