Two Indian Air Force Officers will face court-martial proceedings for lapses which led to Mi-17 chopper crash in friendly fire in Sri Nagar on February 27th. The crash had left six IAF personnel dead.
The matter came to prominence when the new IAF Chief Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria admitted that the Mi-17 chopper crash was a ‘big mistake‘ on part of the IAF.
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“Court of Inquiry has completed and it was our mistake as our missile had hit our own chopper. We will take action against the two officers. We accept this was our big mistake and we will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in the future,” the Air Chief marshal had said.
The group captain and wing commander will face court-martial proceedings. Besides them, four other IAF personnel will face administrative action for violation of duties and not following standard operating procedures. These include two air commanders and two flight lieutenants.
“Court-martial of two officers to begin soon in line with Indian Air Forces rules. Assurances have been given to the families that justice will be done in the case,” IAF sources told Indian media.
Six Air Force personnel including two chopper pilots and four crew members were killed in the crash on February 27th near the Sri Nagar Airport after they had taken off in firing by the SPYDER air defense missile system.
The investigations revealed that the officers handling the air defense missile system at the Sri Nagar base misunderstood Mi-17 V5 helicopter as a missile coming towards the base.
2 IAF officers face court-martial, 4 others administrative action for shooting down of Mi-17 chopperhttps://t.co/A20NFvb9MI
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On February 27th, the helicopter from 154 helicopter unit of Sri Nagar crashed just 10 minutes after take-off. A civilian was killed alongside 6 IAF officers. At the same time, about 100 kilometers away, Pakistan and Indian jets were engaged in aerial combat on LOC.
Earlier this month, the IAF Chief Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria condemning the incident called it a ‘big mistake’. Adding that it was our fault to target our own helicopters. He assured that the investigations would lead to the accountability of the negligent officers to avoid such incidents in the future.
Moreover, the recent admission of newly-sworn in Indian Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, over unpreparedness to combat Pakistan in the February 27th strike was widely reported on social media.
According to the reports, the investigations were delayed as the villagers in Budgam stole the helicopter’s black box. During the accident, stones were also pelted on the army vehicles, which had gone to the site of the incident.