This is the sixth jet of the Jaguar fighter fleet, inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) over three decades ago, to have crashed in the last four years. Only the IAF’s fleet of Mig- 21 — referred to as “flying coffins” by critics — has a worst record: as many as nine Mig-21s have crashed over the last four years.
After the crash on Tuesday, the fleet of the French-origin aircraft has been temporarily grounded and a fact-finding committee has been constituted under Allahabad-based Central Air Command, said sources.
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According to data released by the defence ministry till November last year, eight Mig- 21s, three Sukhois and four Jaguars of the IAF had crashed since 2011.
While a Mig-21 fighter jet crashed in January, another Soukhoi aircraft crashed in May and a Jaguar aircraft crashed near Kurukshetra in Haryana in March.
A Standing Committee of Parliament had, in April, raised concerns about the frequency of crashes of IAF’s fighter jets.
The committee also observed that in the four Jaguar crashes recorded till November, three were due to human errors. Personnel of the State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) were responsible for one crash, aircraft servicing crew for the other and the crew on board for the third one, according to the inquiries conducted by the IAF. The cause of the fourth crash is still being investigated by the Air Force. The Jaguars, which were first inducted into the IAF in July 1979, are undergoing an upgrade by HAL. As per the schedule, the upgrade — estimated to cost Rs 3113.02 crore — is slated to be completed by December 2017.