A Mirage 2000 crashed in Rajasthan today,10 days after a similar accident near Gwalior,raising questions about the safety of the frontline fighter fleet.
Both pilots,Squadron Leader Raj and Flight Lieutenant Kanav,managed to eject on time but the crash prompted a temporary grounding of the fleet pending checks.
While the Indian Air Force has not commented on the cause of the crash,ordering a court of inquiry,sources said todays incident was similar to the one on February 24,when a fighter piloted by an Air Marshal crashed after the engine shut down mid-air. Incidentally,both crashes involved the trainer version of the fighter. Questions have also been raised about whether technical checks conducted after the February 24 crash were adequate.
All three squadrons equipped with the fighter have temporarily put off flying operations. As has been the case in most recent crashes,experienced pilots were behind the controls.
The fleet of Mirage 2000s is scheduled to undergo an upgrade. In service for over 25 years,the aircraft have a good safety record.