IAF Pilatus PC-7 Mk II Crash
Two Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots lost their lives today (December 4) as their Pilatus PC-7 Mk II trainer aircraft crashed during a routine training sortie in Telangana. The incident occurred near Toopran, Medak district, with a Court of Inquiry initiated to determine the cause of the accident.
Trainer Aircraft: Facilitating Pilot Training
A trainer aircraft is specifically designed for flight training of pilots and aircrews. It offers a less complex and forgiving environment for rookie pilots to master fundamental skills before transitioning to more advanced military aircraft.
IAF’s Trainer Aircraft Fleet
The IAF currently operates 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft for basic training, followed by HAL Kiran for intermediate training and BAE Hawk for advanced training. Additionally, the Pipistrel Virus is used for Flight Safety and Air Wing Cadets.
Pilatus PC-7 Mk II Overview
Manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd in Switzerland, the PC-7 Mk II is a low-wing, turbo-prop trainer aircraft with tandem seating. The Mk II version, introduced in the 1990s, features a newer airframe and advanced avionics, serving as an ab initio trainer for cadets.
IAF’s Urgent Procurement
The IAF acquired 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft in 2012 to address a critical shortage of trainer aircraft after the grounding of indigenously developed HPT-32 in 2010 due to fatal crashes. The procurement aimed to meet the urgent need for basic flying training.
In March, the Defence Ministry signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to procure 70 HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft. The HTT-40, designed indigenously, features modern avionics, air-conditioned cockpit, and is set to replace the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II in the coming years.
Category: Defence Current Affairs