New Delhi, September 21
Two pilots of the Indian Army’s Aviation Corps lost their lives this morning when a helicopter they were flying crash-landed near Patnitop in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the second crash for the Aviation Corps in six weeks.
The pilots, Major Rohit Kumar from Noida and Major Anuj Rajput from Panchkula, had taken off from Udhampur in a single-engine Cheetah helicopter, which crash-landed in Shiv Garh Dhar area of Udhampur district.
“Both the pilots were critically injured. They were rushed to the nearest medical facility, both succumbed to their injuries,” an Army spokesperson said. The Cheetah helicopters are based on the 1950s’ designed Alouette Aérospatiale 315B Lama of France and are produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Efforts to replace the entire fleet of some 400 — with the Army and the IAF – have not borne fruit in the last decade or more. The project to have light utility helicopter (LUH) is progressing slowly. The Ministry of Defence placed an order of just 15 copters and called it “limited series production”. The need was of 197 copters.
Another project to plug this gap was to produce Russian Kamov 226-T copter in joint venture between Kamov and HAL. The JV was formed in 2016 and till date, the production has not started.
Earlier on August 3, an HAL-built Rudra copter had crashed into the lake of Ranjit Sagar Dam, killing one officer while another is still missing. — TNS
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