Two Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters have crash-landed since August last and there were 15 accidents involving helicopters of the three Services in the last five years, the government said in a written reply in Parliament on Friday.
Of the 15, there were three accidents involving the M-17V5, including the chopper that crashed last week in Tamil Nadu killing Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 12 others. Seven accidents each were of the Army and the IAF and one involving the Navy.
Since 2008, India has purchased 151 Mi-17V5s in several batches for the IAF, Home Ministry and VVIP transport. These were inducted between 2011 and 2016 and the IAF currently has around 131 Mi-17V5 helicopters in service.
Crash into dam
On the crash of the Army’s Rudra weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) in the Ranjeet Sagar dam in which both the pilots were killed, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha that there was no restriction on the helicopter flying over water. “However, low flying over water needs specific authorisation. A court of Inquiry [CoI] has been ordered to investigate the crash,” the reply stated.
Lt. Col. A.S. Bath and Capt. Jayant Joshi lost their lives in the crash on August 03, 2021.
To a question if pilots were not given specialised training required to fly over water, Mr. Bhatt stated that the training had been structured to meet the operational requirements. “However, operations over large expanse of water are restricted and generally a fraction of the total overall flying,” the reply said adding that nevertheless, all recommendations of the CoI are implemented to avoid recurrence of accidents.