Friday, December 18, 2009

140 killed in 265 MiG fighter jet crashes

2009-12-02 18:10:00

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has lost 265 MiG fighter jets in crashes during the last two decades leaving 140 people dead, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said Wednesday.

'In the last two decades (since April 1989 and up to Nov 26, 2009), 265 MiG fighter aircraft of the IAF have crashed. A total of 96 service personnel and 44 civilians were killed in these cases,' Antony told the parliament in a written reply.


Dubbed 'flying coffins' for their frequent crashes, only 150-160 of the over 450 single-engine MiG-21s with the IAF are still in service. A large number have been lost in accidents during peace time.

Antony said that all precautions are being taken before flying the aircrafts.

'Each aircraft accident in the IAF is investigated through a court of inquiry and remedial measures are undertaken accordingly to check their recurrence in future.

'Besides continuous and multi-faceted efforts are always underway in the IAF to enhance and upgrade flight safety,' Antony added.

However, a senior IAF official said that because it faces a shortage of fighter squadrons, the IAF cannot afford to phase out the ageing MiG-21s. If it does that, it would diminish its force level drastically.

'The main problem with MiG-21s is that they are very old and the on-board systems have become obsolete,' a highly-placed IAF official, who has flown the combat aircraft, told IANS.

The IAF, the world's fourth largest air force, currently has a fighter squadron strength of 33.5 against the sanctioned 39.

The Indian government has issued tenders for acquisition of 126 medium multi-role combat aircrafts but the acquisition has been delayed due to time consuming procedures, which include submitting of bids, technical evaluation of proposals from global military suppliers and field trials.

The first aircraft would conservatively be inducted only by 2020, according to defence ministry sources. The assessment is that the retirement of the five squadrons of MiG-21s will diminish the IAF's conventional edge over its adversaries.

The current deadline for the retirement of MiG-21s is 2011. But this is likely to be pushed back further due to the slow pace of procurement and indigenisation process.

The latest crash took place Sep 11 when a MiG-21 went down in Bathinda in Punjab, killing the pilot.

The MiG-21s, inducted in 1964, proved their worth in the 1971 war with Pakistan and again in 1999 during the Kargil conflict, also with Pakistan. The IAF inducted its first MiG-21 from the erstwhile Soviet Union five years after their induction into the Soviet Air Force. Thereafter some 450 MiG-21 jets were inducted in the IAF to bolster its strength.

The indigenous LCA (light combat aircraft) project has been marred with delays because of the inability of military research bodies to provide engines with right configuration for the aircrafts.



2009-12-08 18:10:00

Despite a pending order from the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 20 light combat aircraft (LCA), India can manufacture only eight such aircraft annually, a senior Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) official has said.

N. Shyama Rao, project director at the ADA, said Tuesday that while only eight LCA could be manufactured annually, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a public sector undertaking unit involved in the manufacture of the LCA, would undertake a massive recruitment drive in order to expand the scope of production of the fighter planes.

'Currently we can manufacture 8 aircraft per annum, which is extendable up to 12,' Rao said at a press conference at the INS Hansa, a naval base in Goa 30 km from here.

He also said that HAL in the near future could recruit nearly 500 officers to meet the challenge.

While the IAF has already ordered 20 LCA to be delivered by 2013, they are expected to order 20 more of the fighter craft which was christened Tejas by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The LCA will replace the IAF's ageing Mig 21-fleet, while the naval version of the LCA will replace the maritime force's fleet of Sea Harriers.

'Even the Indian Navy will be ordering the LCA once the ski jump trials are validated,' Air Vice Marshal Shankar Mani told reporters, adding that the naval version was still in the prototype phase.

The ski jump trials, which are compulsory for the naval version of the LCA, will enable the fighter craft to land and take off from the deck of aircraft carriers. 'After spending some initial years on shore bases, the LCAs will also be posted onboard the Gorshkov, once it joins the Indian fleet,' Mani said.

He said addition of the LCA to the IAF fleet would help close the gap between the subsonic Kiran aircraft and the supersonic Mig 21.

Armed with air to air, air to ground missiles and a bomb carrying a 1,000 pound payload, the LCA, which clocked in excess of 1,350 kmph during a trial off Goa Tuesday, is expected to cost Rs.150 crore per aircraft.

P.N. Subramanium, project director at the ADA, said the LCA represented fourth generation technology. 'The LCA is contemporary in every sense, whether it is in terms of sensors, electronic systems, technology, weaponry, etc,' he said.

The indigenously made fighter plane which has been flown by more than a dozen test pilots so far will be ready for induction into the IAF by 2010.

Monday, November 9, 2009

PLEASE read and Comment..

Dear friends,
Following are the accounts of all those brave fighter pilots who made their supreme sacrifices in conditions similar to those faced by Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri. Please go through the details and register your support for our cause that Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri be suitably honored. Please comment.


Flight Lieutnant Suhas Biswas, 2883 GD(P)
Award Date : 3rd February 1952.

On the 3rd of February, 1952, The U. P. Area command of the Indian Army was holding a tactical Exercise in Lucknow. To Witness this Exercise, High ranking Army Officials decided to fly down to the Exercise to observe. The Then GOC-in-C Western Command Lt Gen S. M Shrinagesh (Later COAS) , The Quarter Master General Maj-Gen K. S . Thimayya (later COAS), The Chief of General Staff Maj Gen S. P. P. Thorat (later GOC-inC East), The Military Secretary Maj Gen Sarda Nand, Maj Gen Mohinder Singh Chopra and Brig Ajaib Singh boarded the IAF HQ and Communications Flight De Havilland Devon (HW 516) which was being flown by Flt Lt Suhas Biswas. The Devon reached Lucknow and after the exercises were completed, the Officers returned for the return flight to Delhi. The Devon took off at 1800 Hrs and moments after the aircraft took off, the Crew observed the port engine was spewing smoke and soon a fire broke out. The Devon became difficult to control and as the fire kept creeping towards the main fuselage, Biswas, the pilot put the Devon in a dive in an attempt to reduce altitude and attempt a crash landing before the aircraft fuel reserves caught fire and blew up. As the Devon was put into the dive, The Aircraft shuddered in the airflow and The Engine mounting broke away, resulting in the Burning Engine seperating from the wing and falling off. Biswas levelled the Aircraft and belly landed sucessfully at a village near the Sandilla Railway Station. All the occupants walked out of the crashed aircraft unhurt with the pilot being the last to leave.
Flt Lt Suhas Biswas awarded the First Ashoka Chakra to the Indian Air Force for the presence of mind, Skill and cool courage in maintaining the Stricken aircraft and saving the lives of many Senior Army Officers. Which included Two Future Army Chiefs and an Army Commander. The Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee, had had the passenger chairs removed from the wrecked Devon and presented it individually to each of the survivors of the crash with a Brass Plate mentioning the circumstances of the crash.
Flt Lt Biswas died Two Years later when his Dakota crashed in the Niligiri Hills.


Sqn LdrAyyappan Sudhakaran 3937 GD(P) Unit : A&ATU Award Date 04 Jun 60 Announced 04 Mar 61

Details : On the 4th of June, 1960, Suqadron Leader Ayappan Sudhakaran was carrying out a test flight in a Gnat aircraft – the only one of its kind in India – which was fully instrumented when the engine flamed out at low altitude. He could have abandoned the aircraft and saved his own life but decided to save the aircraft by attempting a forced-landing. In this gallant attempt he lost his life.
Squadron Leader Ayappan Sudhakaran had been a test pilot for nearly three years at Kanpur during which period he made numerous test flights in which he faced great risk to his life and displayed outstanding flying ability and technical knowledge of a very high order. In this incident in which he lost his life he showed courage, devotion to duty and determination in the highest traditions of the Air Force.

Flt LtRaj Kumar Mehta 4102 GD(P) Unit : 23 Squadron Award Date 09 Nov 60 Announced 26 Jan 62
:While flying a Gnat on 9 Nov 60, He encountered a Bird Hit while on his landing finals at Palam. This resulted in the Engine Flaming Out. Mehta did not eject but attempted a landing in a bid to save the aircraft. Unfortunately The Gnat crashed killing him.

Fg OffrVaidyanathan Ganesan 30039 AUX Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 12 Mar 61 Announced 26 Jan 62
:Fg Off Ganesan was on an Instrumental training sortie on 12 Mar 61, when an aircraft malfunction rendered the aircraft unsafe for flying. Fg. Off Ganesan decided to bail out of the aircraft, but noticed a village in the immediate vicinity. Ganesan chose to stay in the aircraft and guide it away from crashing into the village. He successfully steered away the aircraft and as it was too low to bail out , attempted a crash landing and was killed.

Flt LtMadhusudhan Ray 5004 GD(P) Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 12 Oct 61 Announced 26 Jan 62
:On 12th October, 1961, Flight Lieutenant Madhusudan Ray (5004) GD(P), Captain of a Dakota aircraft while engaged on a training flight had to crash-land the aircraft at Mahesh owing to loss of power immediately after take-off from Barrackpore airfield. He deliberately manoeuvred his aircraft so as to crash-land in the only available open space between inhabited multi-storeyed buildings. A crash into any of these buildings would have caused extensive damage to life and property. Flight Lieutenant Madhusudan Ray was able to ward off what might have been a disaster of great magnitude and in doing so sacrificed his own life and those of his crew.
In saving the lives of others, Flight Lieutenant Madhusudan Ray displayed gallantry, skill and spirit of self-sacrifice, which are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Air Force.

Flt LtKaran Sher Singh Kalsia 4474 GD(P) Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 19 Jan 61 Announced 10 Sep 62
: On 19th January, 1961, while on a training flight, Flight Lieutenant Kalsia found that the engine of his aircraft had flamed out. The aircraft was heading towards Jamnagar city and had he bailed out and abandoned the aircraft, it would have crashed in the city, causing extensive damage to life and property. Realising this, Flight Lieutenant Kalsia turned his aircraft away from the populated area and in doing so lost valuable height. He then attempted a force landing as he was left with no other option and was killed in the attempt.
Flight Lieutenant Kalsia displayed courage of a very high order and gave his own life to avoid an accident which might have resulted in the loss of several other lives. His gallant action was in the highest traditions of the Air Force.

Flt LtJagan Nath Vijayaragahvan 4483 GD(P) Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 14 May 62 Announced 10 Sep 62
: On 14th May 1962, Flight Lieutenant Vijayaraghavan was on an instructional sortie with Pilot Officer Evans as pupil. During a spinning exercise by the pupil, it was noticed that the aircraft failed to come out of the spin. At this moment, Flight Lieutenant Vijayaraghavan, took over the controls of the aircraft which however still failed to respond and started losing height rapidly. He twice ordered Pilot Officer Evans to bale out but by the time the latter did so, the aircraft had reached too low a height for Flight Lieutenant Vijayaraghavan to abandon it. Pilot Officer Evans escaped with minor injuries. The aircraft crashed killing Flight Lieutenant Vijayaraghavan instantaneously.
Flight Lieutenant Vijayaraghavan displayed conspicuous gallantry and a spirit of supreme self-sacrifice in saving the life of his pupil which was in the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Wg Cdr Daljit Singh Minhas 11287 F(P) Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 05 Apr 88 Announced 26 Jan 89
:On 5th April 88, Wg Cdr Minhas was piloting a Hunter fighter when he experienced an engine flame out just 200 feet above the ground. he guided the aircraft away from a habitated village and stayed with the aircraft to make sure it did not cause any loss of life on ground. He ejected from the Hunter at a very low level as a result of which his parachute did not open and he died in the crash.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An appeal...

Dear friends,

this blog was published on 24th October, 09. Since then, we have received support of 157 friends who have become followers of this blog, and we already have an average of 237 hits a day (you can check sitemeter at the bottom of this page). By any means this is a good score, but let us face it friends.. We are not here to improve statistics, we are here for a reason.. We need active input from everyone so that when we call out to media for their aid we have something to show them.. Please put your comments here.. Please remember, EVERY COMMENT COUNTS AS A VOTE..

Monday, November 2, 2009


Dear friends,

Check out the latest report on MiG crashes by Presley Thomas, Hindustan Times.

IAF’s vulnerable spot

Presley Thomas, Hindustan Times

Mumbai, November 02, 2009
First Published: 00:26 IST(2/11/2009)
Last Updated: 00:28 IST(2/11/2009)

In 1963, when for the first time two MiG 21s crashed in Ambala, human error and lack of training facilities were held responsible for the accident.

When on October 23 this year an MiG 27 crashed at New Jalpaiguri, about 600 km north of Kolkata, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and ministry of defence (MoD) ordered a court of inquiry — a routine practice followed after any mishap.

The MiG, which has become the mainstay of India’s airpower, has also been a cause of worry as it has crashed regularly since the 1960s, around when it was acquired.

Reports by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) suggest that the IAF has lost more than 400 MiGs since the aircraft was inducted, apart from trained fighter pilots.

While the MiG-25, an MiG variant, has been phased out, the remaining of the MiGs — MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27 and MiG-29 — will continue to remain in service at least for the next 15 years.

“India has no choice but to stay with the MiGs (MiG 21 Bisons, MiG-27 and MiG-29),” said former air vice-marshal Kapil Kak, founding additional director of the Air Power Studies in New Delhi. “Light combat aircraft (LCA) was promised in 1995. Had it been on track, we would not have faced these problems. We are paying the price for wanting to be self-reliant, to produce our own aircraft, with blood,” Kak added.

More than 160 fighter pilots have died flying MiGs — and almost all have been killed during training sorties. This has earned the MiG the description “flying coffin” or “widow maker”.

The government has constituted at least six committees with the one headed by APJ Abdul Kalam, who later became the country’s President, being the first to study aspects of flight safety in the IAF, and provide recommendations to improve the record in that respect.

The report, which has not been made public, analysed 213 accidents between 1977 and 1982, and had recommended advanced jet trainers, a technical training school and an inspectorate directorate, IAF sources say.

While the Committee dealt mainly with training aspects and accidents with special emphasis on accidents related to human error, five other committees were constituted to study the mishaps.

The CAG in its report of 1998 noted that all the recommendations of the Committee headed by Kalam, including the change in training patterns, had been accepted and implemented. The same had been done for other committees, which also studied technical problems and accidents.

The CAG noted that from 1991 to 1997 there were 187 accidents in which the IAF lost 147 fighter jets and 63 pilots. It also stated that the facilities for training pilots in the IAF were far from satisfactory. While the basic trainers were defective and unreliable, trainee pilots had to practise on operational jet fighters in the absence of advanced jet trainers.

The CAG stated that training equipment like flight simulators, computer-based tools and hot shot training aid were either not operational or had not been acquired.

A decade later the CAG in its report 2008-09 said that the IAF could finalise procuring the trainer aircraft in 2004 although there was need for it early as 1982. It further stated that the delay in acquiring these trainer aircraft had impacted pilot training adversely as the aircraft, besides being vital for air safety, was considered essential for improving the skills of IAF pilots.

The ministry of defence in December last year stated that the problem of lack of enough trainer aircraft was mitigated by the increased intensity of supervision by flying instructors. But the CAG audit, however, noticed that 101 of the 259 aircraft lost between 1992 and 2003 met with accidents because of human error.

The crashes have affected the IAF in terms of its squadrons. Of a total sanction of 39 squadrons, the IAF to date operates with just 31. The fast-depleting fleet of the IAF has been a cause of worry because the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) is still far from being operational and the multi-million medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal that India vies for has not yet been finalised.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dear Citizens of India,

Many people have discarded this campaign as a mere emotional beckoning on part of some people who mourn the personal loss of Manu Akhouri. They have also questioned us about the real motif of running this campaign. What difference is it going to make? Is it going to prevent any more precious lives from being lost? Is it, in any way possible, going to change the way our authorities have handled the very sensitive issue of these MiG-21 we have now crowned ‘Flying Coffins’? Is it ever going to change the mindsets of people? Is it ever going to jerk people out of the numbness they have accepted as their fate?

The answer is Yes. It is the mindset that binds us, not circumstances. Let us just ask ourselves, why can’t we raise a voice and ask the authorities to LISTEN TO US? Why can’t we demand an answer from the people who have been CHOSEN BY US to run this nation? Why can’t we ask them to honor people like Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri, who has found a place in our hearts as OUR HERO? This is our country, and the most shameful of all deeds is to abandon our duties as responsible citizens.

The clich├ęd statements that come out of us as sighs at every such unfortunate incident are a living proof of our guilt- ‘this country is going to dogs’ or ‘things are never going to change around here’. Let us ask ourselves- how many of us really have regards for our social duties? How many of us have written a single letter to the editor of some newspaper concerning an issue? How many of us have felt a surge of patriotism on an occasion other than having watched ‘Rang De Basanti’? How many of us have protested a beating of a wife in our neighborhood? How many of us have taken the benefit of that power imparted to us by the Govt. of India which is called the Right to Information? How many of us have ever used their right to vote? Why haven’t we? Why don’t we? How can we blame the system to be corrupt when we, the people of India, have never bothered to collectively raise a voice against it?

Our media is negative, because inspite of holding potential power in its hands, it does not have the active support of people. See what was done to Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri? How many of us knew Manu Akhouri through media? And how many were interested in knowing the story of yet another pilot who lost his life in a MiG-21 crash? Not many, we must confess. Flt. Lt. Akhouri would have got at least a decent timeslot on the Prime Time had he fallen in war. Can’t we see where this leads? Our sentiments are aroused by the contemporary issues, but this arousal is temporary. Every time a MiG-21 falls, we get angry, blame our politicians and finally settle down in our lives. Going to office, killing time, coming back home, visiting malls, watching movies… most of us don’t consider ourselves capable of bringing about a change.

Every time a man stands up for a cause, he can distinctively be seen. Why? Because he is alone. The people around him are either too scared, or too busy to stand up with him. Scared of what? Busy with what?

This blog is For Manu Akhouri. But it belongs to us. Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri gave it all, and it is now our turn. We have taken it upon ourselves to pay our dues to him. We request all those who have taken the initiative to visit this blog and put their comments on it to join hands. This blog is NOT a place to mourn Manu Akhouri’s death. It is to celebrate his life, and his courage. Like one of our friends commented ‘A true soldier never gives up, and he never dies‘- we celebrate the immortality of Manu Akhouri. Please let the issue be known among your friends, in your neighborhood, in your office and gather support. Once we all stand together, we can share any burden. The burden on our souls that has been haunting us for not being able to do anything.

Let us not stare up and sigh- ‘Manu, we wish we had half the courage you had’. Let us salute him and say proudly- ‘Manu, we did our bit.’

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dear Citizens of India,
On September 10, 2009, Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri took off in his MiG-21 from the Air Force station, Bhisiana in Bathinda district in the afternoon for a routine training sortie. While flying over the village of Bhalaina, his plane developed a technical snag and caught fire, leaving him with the last resort to bail out and save his life.

He didn’t. Eyewitnesses say that the plane was steered away from populated areas by the pilot, saving villagers from the mishap. He then maneuvered his plane towards the fields for a crash landing. He still had time to bail out. At the same time a bus appeared on the Bathinda-Muktsar main road. Apparently to avert accident with the vehicle, the plane was seen to veer away, and Flt. Lt. Akhouri lost his battle with death at last, hitting a tree. The jet was blown to pieces. His body was found in the fields , with the unopened parachute lying beside him.
Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri was the fifth to lose his life this year in a MiG- 21 mishap. He was one of the most skilled pilots of his batch, and was among the selected fighter pilots of IAF who were sent to UK to receive training for the soon to be acquired Hawk fighter jets.

He was 24 years old, with his whole life lying in front of him. His one decision could turn fate the other way round, and keep his dreams safe.

He chose to die doing his duty.

Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister, Punjab has requested the Government of India that highest civilian awards like Padma Visbhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree be conferred posthumously upon Flt. Lt. Akhouri, for showing exemplary courage in saving many lives and public property, and sacrificing his precious life serving the cause of humanity. He has also urged the Chief Minister of Punjab and the Chief secretary Punjab to consider Flt. Lt. Akhouri for State and other gallantry awards.

The indebted villagers of Bhalaina have decided to rename the school in their village after Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri. There is a bus stand called Shaheed Manu Akhouri bus stand.

It is not certain whether he would get this award or not.. it is possible that like hundreds of other unsung heroes, his final act is forgotten with time. And the frequency with which the news of MiG-21 crashes appears, there is a great possibility that he turns into a mere number on the list.

This is what we can change. We should come together to honor the courage of a young boy, who put his duty first and died saving the lives of his fellow countrymen. Mr. Badal has made a sincere request to the Govt. of India to honor Flt. Lt. Akhouri, and with the example he has set, he is bound to get what he deserves. But what is more important is that he should be known among the people of his country as a martyr, not as just another curve in the statistics. He should be remembered by the masses as the hero who had the right values inculcated in him by his worthy parents, which led him to do what he did for his country. Be it wartime or peace, the true duty of a soldier is to defend his countrymen. And having done just that, Manu Akhouri deserves every bit of respect as deserved by bravehearts who make supreme sacrifices in the battlefield.

If you, as responsible citizens of this country, feel that you owe something to Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri and many other bravehearts like him , please contribute just half a minute of your time to pay tribute to him.

Kindly leave a comment, supporting our cause, that Manu Akhouri must be honored for his valor. The more positive responses we get, the stronger becomes the belief that we are the ones who shall decide who our real heroes are. Please forward the link to this blog to as many people , and make the issue known to as many people as possible.

Related Links:

MiG-21 crash kills pilot

MiG-21 crashes, kills young pilot

IAF begins probe in MiG-21 crash

Flying Lt. Manu Akhauri needs to be suitably honored

Orkut Users can pay tribute to Flt. Lt. Akhouri on his orkut profile :

NEW : dated 27.10.2009

Dear friends, it has been heart warming to see your response to this small effort. We started with a hope to involve people who could raise a voice for the young man in whose name we speak.

We have no big connections, no special friends in the bureaucratic system. We only rely on the support of our people, our fellow Indians.

We extend an appeal to you to register your support (make a comment) at least once on the blog with your name, and the place you are from (if possible). We also ask for your help in this cause. Please let the issue be known among your friends, your social circle, your aquaintances or even strangers who care to listen..

We need your advice on this campaign, how to take it to the next level.. Please give your ideas and suggestions regarding the promotion of this cause.

This blog belongs to everyone of you- you are the owners and responsible keepers of this blog, because you are helping it grow. Every comment counts as a vote, Please spread the word.

Updated: 28.10.2009

we found some links related to the Mig-21 issue:

IAF claims reduction in Mig-21 accident rate

MiG-21 replacement likely to stay on tarmac

Old MiG-21 phaseout hit by fighter jet shortage

A 2002 article about MiG crashes-
MiG Accidents - Causes and Remedies