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Armed forces lost 48 aircraft, 21 choppers since 2011

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NEW DELHI (PTI): A total of 48 military aircraft and 21 helicopters were lost to crashes since 2011 in which 79 people were killed, the government told Lok Sabha on Friday.

Replying to a question, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said all such incidents and accidents are thoroughly investigated and preventive actions taken based on probe reports.

"A total of 48 aircraft and 21 helicopters were lost in crashes by the armed forces since 2011. 79 persons were killed in these crashes," he said.

To a separate question, Bhamre said it is planned to utilise Light Combat Aircraft Tejas as a flying test bed to design and develop a stealthy unmanned combat aerial vehicle.

He said the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has undertaken a feasibility study to convert Chetak helicopter into an unmanned technology demonstrator.

The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has also planned to develop a futuristic stealth combat drone.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, replying to another query, said the ADA is also developing MK-II version of LCA for the Navy with a higher thrust engine than the one used in MK-I version of Tejas.

"Final Operational Clearence (FOC) of LCA (Navy) MK II is likely to be obtained by 2023 for induction in Indian Navy and FoC for Air Force MKII is likely to be obtained by December 2025," he said.

Replying to a separate query, Bhamre said Indian Navy has decommissioned 11 ships since January 2015.

The Minister said no incident of Indian UAV having been shot down by Pakistan has taken place.

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