IAF’s Missing AN-32 Aircraft Is Its 10th Tragedy in Just 5 Months

The AN-32 aircraft, which crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on 3 June, is the 10th aircraft the IAF has lost since Jan.

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Video Editor: Varun Sharma and Purnendu Pritam

2019 has not been a good year for the Indian Air Force, with 10 crashes within a span of five months.

The AN-32 aircraft, which crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday, is the 10th aircraft the IAF has lost since January.

The aircraft went missing with 13 people aboard after taking off from the Jorhat airbase in Assam.

IAF Aircraft Crashes in 2019

The first IAF tragedy reported this year was on 28 January when the IAF's Jaguar fighter jet crashed in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar district. The pilot of the aircraft had thankfully ejected safely.

On 1 February, the IAF lost two pilots, squadron leaders Samir Abrol and Siddartha Negi, after their Mirage 2000 fighter jet crashed during take-off at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airport in Bengaluru.

Eleven days later, on 12 February, a MiG-27 crashed at the Pokhran firing range, but fortunately, there were no casualties as the pilot had ejected safely.

Yet again, after eight days, two Surya Kiran aircraft collided midair while rehearsing for a display at Bengaluru's Aero India Show. This time, one pilot was killed and two others were injured.

On 27 February, amidst unprecedented air confrontation between India and Pakistan a day after the Balakot attack, a Mi-17V-5 chopper was shot down in a possibly tragic case of friendly fire by an Indian missile, killing six IAF personnel on board and one civilian on ground. The final report of this incident is still due.

News of the Mi17 crash was overshadowed by the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, which happened on the very same day. The officer reportedly shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16, but also lost his Mig-21 Bison in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir during the air battle.

Two more IAF aircraft crashes were reported in March. On 8 March, Indian MiG-21 Bison crashed near Bikaner in western Rajasthan because of a bird strike, and on 31 March, an MiG-27 UPG crashed in Sirohi in Rajasthan. In both cases, fortunately, no casualties were reported.

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