The Court of Inquiry (CoI) that will probe the crash of two IAF jets on Saturday, in which one pilot was killed, would be presided over by a senior IAF officer of Air Commodore rank or higher, according to defence sources on Sunday. They stated that the CoI will also include fighter pilots, as well as technical and medical officers.
The Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi 30 (Su-30 MKI) fighter jets crashed near Morena, Madhya Pradesh, and Bharatpur, Rajasthan, respectively, during a close combat training mission as part of the fighter combat leader course conducted by the Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment in Gwalior.
Saturday morning, the two planes took off from the Gwalior air base. The deceased Wing Commander Hanumanth Rao Sarathi was a member of TACDE’s directing staff. The two Su-30 pilots who were enrolled in the course ejected safely before the plane crashed in Bharatpur.
There was no official confirmation of the potential of a midair collision between the two aircraft, despite indications from many sources.
The CoI will determine the exact cause by, among other things, studying the flight data recorders found from the wreckage of both aircraft and interviewing all IAF personnel involved in the mission.
Saturday, IAF teams visited the forested area where the debris fell, according to a PTI report. So far, the flight data recorder of the Mirage 2000 and a portion of the flight data recorder of the Su-30 have been recovered.
Bad weather, a common cause of aircraft crashes, is not likely to be among the causes of the most recent incident, according to officers, because such training trips are typically avoided in such conditions.
Both the Mirage 2000 and the Su-30 have a history of safe flying operations. The Mirage 2000 has been involved in five accidents since 2010, including one in the Bhind area of Madhya Pradesh in October 2021. Approximately 10 Su-30s have been lost since 2010. Mirage 2000 is a smaller and lighter aircraft than the Su-30 MKI.
In 2017, the government informed Congress that a number of preventative measures were in place. This includes preventative steps such as reinvigorating the Aviation Safety Organisation, expediting the accident/incident reporting method, conducting analytical studies and conducting quality audits of aircraft fleets in order to identify weak areas and prevent aircraft accidents.