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Def forces lost 37 aircraft, helicopters in last 3 yrs: Govt

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NEW DELHI (PTI): A total of 37 defence aircraft and helicopters have crashed since May 2014 in which 55 people were killed, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

According to details provided by the Minister of State for Defence, the armed forces lost 25 aircraft and 12 helicopters during the period.

Out of the total, the Indian Air Force lost 24 aircraft and five helicopters in crashes since 2014-15 and main reasons for the accidents were human error and technical defect.

"37 fighters and defence aircraft have crashed during the last three years," Subhash Bhamre said in a written response to a question.

He said every accident is thoroughly investigated by a court of inquiry and its recommendations are implemented.

To a query on aircraft and helicopters from IAF, he said the main reasons for accidents were found to be human error and technical defect, adding accident prevention programmes have been given added thrust to identify risk-prone areas specific to aircraft fleets and operational environment.

The minister also informed the house that IAF had upgraded its Mig-21 and Mig 27 aircraft as part of an obsolescence management programme so that they remain relevant. Mig 29 aircraft are also being upgraded in a phased manner.

"These mid-life upgrades enable the aircraft to improve the combat potential and operational capability," he said.

To a separate question on whether the US has agreed for transfer of sophisticated technology and production of F-16 jets under the 'Make in India' initiative, he said "no".

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