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IAF still to find reasons for Mirage 2000 crashes

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Air Force (IAF) is struggling to find reasons behind the recent crashes of two frontline Mirage 2000 fighter planes due to which the entire fleet of 49 aircraft has remained grounded for the last ten days.

The whole fleet, based in Gwalior, was grounded after the two crashes, the first of which took place on February 24 and the second on March 5.

"Investigations are going on into the two crashes and once we find reasons behind them, we will start flying the aircraft," top IAF sources told PTI here.

They said the reasons behind the accidents were yet to be found and only after that, the IAF would resume flying operations of the frontline planes.

Due to the gravity of the situation, the IAF has also sought help from the original aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation to point out the reasons behind them. A joint team of Dassault Aviation and engine manufacturer Safran are stationed in Gwalior to help out the Air Force.

The first aircraft crashed while it was being flown by Air Officer Personnel (AOP) Air Marshal Anil Chopra a few minutes after it took off from its base in Gwalior. It had apparently crashed due to technical problems in the engine and the reasons for it are being ascertained, the sources said, adding all efforts were on to establish the causes behind the mishaps.

The IAF recently signed two deals worth over $3.2 billion for upgrading the capabilities of the Mirage 2000 with French companies Dassault, Thales and MBDA.


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