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India: flight safety at risk

At least 55 soldiers have lost their lives in over 50 accidents in just over 5 years

The Armed Forces of India are grappling with the fourth major aviation accident in six months recorded by Hal-Dhruv light helicopters. Added to these is the recent crash of a Soviet-made MiG-21 fighter into the ground. This draws a disturbing series of military accidents that have affected the country's air force, with 55 servicemen having lost their lives in over 50 accidents in just over 5 years. 

"Both the MiG-21s and the Chetak helicopters, which are single-engine machines of vintage 1960s design, have long outlived their operational usefulness. But what can the military do in the absence of new inductions?", senior officer of the Indian armed forces, quoted by the national newspaper "Times of India". 

MiG-21 aircraft and Chetak helicopters have had an alarming accident record over the years. This is due to various concomitant factors: the aircraft lack modern avionics, the training and supervision of pilots and technicians are inadequate, there is poor maintenance. The investigative reports on the accidents show that the causes are to be found in "human errors" and "technical defects".

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency