Shooting Down Our Own Mi-17 in Budgam a ‘Big Mistake’: IAF Chief

Shooting Down Our Own Mi-17 in Budgam a ‘Big Mistake’: IAF Chief

India

Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, addressing his first press conference as the new chief of the Indian Air Force on Friday, 4 October, said that it was a “big mistake” on IAF’s part to shoot down its own Mi-17 helicopter in Budgam on 27 February this year.

He said that the court of inquiry submitted its report last week and the IAF is taking punitive action against the guilty.

The probe into the incident found that the 'Identification of Friend or Foe' (IFF) system on-board the helicopter was switched off and there were "vital gaps" in communication and coordination between the ground staff and the crew of the chopper. It also found violations of standard operating procedures.

Also Read : Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria Takes Charge as the New IAF Chief 

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In the press conference he said that the operational preparedness of the IAF has been of a very high order and it achieved a number of operational milestones last year, including the Balakot strikes.

The IAF Chief added that the Mirage 2000, MiG-29 Jaguar, Mi-17 V5 aircraft were in the process of receiving midlife upgrades to improve their operational capabilities. Partial upgrades to the Su-30 MKIs are also planned, he said.

He also said the process for ‘acceptance of necessity (AoN)’ for the 114 multirole combat aircraft program will be initiated soon.

He refused to comment on the Rafale pricing controversy.

Rakesh Bhadauria took charge as the 26th Chief of Air Staff on Monday, succeeding former Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, who retired after 41 years of service in the IAF.

Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora took charge as Vice Chief of the Air Staff, the very next day on 1 October.

Air Marshal Bhadauria was commissioned in the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in June 1980. He has held various command, staff and instructional positions during his nearly four-decade career.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he won the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in the overall order of merit.

Bhadauria has also commanded a Jaguar squadron, a premier Air Force Station and has 4,250 hours of flying experience on 26 types of fighters and transport aircraft. He is one of the few Air Force pilots to fly a Rafale jet.

Also Read : New IAF Chief’s Appointment: Why RKS Bhadauria Must Tread Lightly

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