New Delhi, March 16
Two pilots on board a Cheetah helicopter of the Army were killed after it crashed near Bomdila town in Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday morning. Lt Col VVB Reddy and Maj Jayanth A did not survive the crash, an Army spokesperson said.
The helicopter was flying an operational sortie near Bomdila when it lost contact with the air traffic controller (ATC) around 9.15 am. A search by five parties of the Army, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was launched immediately. The wreckage of the aircraft was found near Banglajaap East village of Mandala. A court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the crash.
For over a decade, efforts to replace the entire fleet of ageing Cheetah helicopters have failed to materialise. The project to procure a light utility helicopter (LUH) is progressing slowly.
The Ministry of Defence placed an order for 15 helicopters and called it “a limited series production”. There is a need for 197 helicopters.
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