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Aero India 2023

2 IAF pilots killed as Pilatus trainer aircraft crashes in Hyderabad

NEW DELHI (PTI): Two pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were killed on Monday as a Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft crashed near Hyderabad, the first such accident involving the Swiss-origin trainer jet.

The IAF has ordered a Court of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.

"A Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft met with an accident today morning during a routine training sortie from Air Force Academy, Hyderabad," the IAF said in a statement.

"It is with deep regret that the IAF confirms both pilots onboard the aircraft sustained fatal injuries. No damage to any civil life or property has been reported," it added.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh condoled the deaths of the two pilots.

"Anguished by this accident near Hyderabad. It is deeply saddening that two pilots have lost their lives. In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the bereaved families," he said on X.

The Pilatus PC-7 Mk II is a trainer aircraft designed and manufactured in Switzerland by Pilatus Aircraft.

The aircraft is capable of undertaking all basic training, including aerobatics, instrument, tactical and night flying.

In May 2012, India sealed a deal to procure 75 Pilatus PC-7 MkII aircraft for the IAF.

The IAF pilots undergo basic training on Pilatus PC-7 Mk II planes and Kiran Mk-1/1A jets.

The IAF is now procuring an indigenously-developed trainer aircraft.

In March, the Defence Ministry sealed a deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to procure 70 HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft at a cost of more than Rs 6,800 crore for the IAF.

The HTT-40 contains approximately 56 per cent indigenous content, which will progressively go beyond 60 per cent through indigenisation of major components and sub-systems.

The aircraft is expected to meet the shortage of basic trainer aircraft of the IAF for training newly-inducted pilots.

In June, a Kiran trainer aircraft of the IAF crashed at Chamarajanagar in Karnataka, but the two pilots made it out safely after ejecting from the plane before the crash.

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