IAF Jaguar suffers bird hit, pilot recovers plane till airbase

Published: June 27, 2019

An Indian Air Force Jaguar fighter-bomber aircraft operating out of Ambala airbase suffered an engine failure, allegedly due to a bird strike. The quick-thinking pilot saved the aircraft by dropping off the fuel-tanks & small practice bombs which lightened the load and recovered it to Ambala airbase. The aircraft was on a routine training mission. No casualties have been reported from this incident.

Why this matters?

  • The Indian Air Force is suffering from a chronic lack (scarcity) of aircraft as older planes are being retired while newer aircraft acquisitions are stuck.
  • While IAF wishes to have at least 45 squadrons to fight a two-front war, it has barely 30 squadrons.
  • The Jaguar is a two-engine medium weight fighter-bomber operated by the Indian Air Force. It was originally designed and manufactured by UK & France. In IAF service, it is called as Bahadur . There are more than 100 Jaguars in IAF service.
  • The IAF has lost 27 aircrafts to various causes since 2016, this includes 15 frontline fighters.
  • In 2019-2020, the IAF has already lost 1 An-32 transport aircraft in the North East.
  • Most of these losses have taken place due to equipment failures and avoidable causes like lack of upgrades.
  • These losses not only deplete the aircraft strength of the IAF but also reduce its personnel morale.
  • The IAF and the Government claim they are working hard to reduce aircraft losses by upgrading older planes, retiring the unsafe planes and inducting new ones.

What the future holds?

The IAF is planning to induct 36 Rafale fighters in 2019-2022. These Rafales will form 2 squadrons (18 aircrafts each). Another tender for the acquisition of 110 fighters has also been launched by the IAF. The induction of indigenously developed (made in our country by HAL) Tejas aircraft is also proceeding at an accelerated pace.

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