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Aero India 2023

Navy recovers aircraft wreckage with sea-mine detecting equipment

The aircraft had crashed close to the Gujarat coast in the Arabian Sea in August this year

NEW DELHI (PTI): Using its recently acquired sensors and underwater cameras meant for detecting mines laid by enemies, the Indian Navy ships helped the Indian Air Force (IAF) recover the wreckage of a MiG 29 aircraft which crashed into the Arabian Sea near Gujarat coast in August this year.

“This was a unique case, where our officers used these advanced sensors for recovering aircraft wreckage. This is something very rare,” a senior Navy official said. Navy had deployed its ships with high definition side-array cameras and recently acquired sensors for detecting sea-mines.

The aircraft had crashed close to the Gujarat coast in the Arabian Sea in August this year. Though the pilot managed to eject safely just a few moments before the crash, IAF needed the wreckage and especially its black box, to find out the causes behind the accident.

As the accident took place over sea, IAF launched search operations with the help of naval divers from the navy's base INS Valsura. Initial efforts by rescue teams were not successful as the search area was very large.

“The task of locating a crashed aircraft whose parts had drifted away from each other by strong currents was extremely difficult in the vast sea,” the official said.

The Navy then decided to innovate and use its sea-mine detecting equipment for searching the seabed for the wreckage. “Our team of officers thought of using advanced underwater cameras along with SONAR (sound navigation and ranging) for the task as the aircraft's airframe consisted of metal, which would reflect the SONAR back,” the official added.

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