Mi17 Helicopter Crash in Budgam: IAF to Probe All Angles
An investigation into the cause of the IAF Mi17V5 chopper crash that took place in Budgam on 27 February – which is looking into all possible angles – is also considering friendly fire, The Economic Times reported, quoting sources.
The IAF Mi17V5 helicopter had crashed near Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar on the same day as the aerial dogfight between the IAF and the Pakistan Air Force.
A defence source told The Economic Times that all possible angles would be probed with regard to the crash, including that of friendly fire, keeping in mind the fact that air defence systems near Srinagar were in operation at the time.
At the time of the crash, senior officials had said that the crash had taken place after the chopper developed a technical snag. The Mi17V5 is one of the sturdiest choppers in service across the world and does not usually develop technical snags, the report said.
Pakistan has also denied playing a role in the chopper’s crash, despite accepting that an aerial battle had taken place over Nowshera and acknowledging that they had downed an Indian fighter jet at the time.
Eyewitnesses had reportedly heard a loud explosion in the air just before the chopper went down, indicating the possibility of some external event causing the crash, reported The Economic Times.
According to the report, both command and control systems were functioning under extreme pressure at the time as a ‘fog of war’ prevailed.
IAF has said that it is too early to comment on the crash, but had ordered a court of inquiry into the incident. “A court of inquiry has been ordered and we cannot speculate on the reason behind the crash before it submits its report,” an IAF officer said.
Six IAF officers onboard the Mi17V5 chopper were killed, as well as one civilian on the ground. According to ET’s source, the families of those killed in the crash have been promised answers within ten to 15 days.
The Indian air defence systems, mostly controlled by the IAF, have inbuilt safeguards to identify and distinguish between friend and foe. If indeed the cause of the crash is found to be friendly fire, this would mean breach in multiple layers of safeguards, according to the report.
(With inputs from The Economic Times.)