The terrible death of India’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Bipin Rawat, and his wife in a helicopter crash on Wednesday has brought to light the country’s frequent flying mishaps involving military aircraft.
In the last five years, India has lost 34 planes, largely Russian-made MiGs, and seven helicopters in various incidents.
In response to a query in parliament in March 2020, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated that the country lost 25 planes and four helicopters between 2016 and 2019.
The planes involved in the crash were ten MiGs, three Sukhoi multirole fighters, four Jaguar jets, two transport planes, and six trainers.
According to open-source data, India lost nine aircraft and seven helicopters in the two years between 2020 and 2021.
Here’s a list of terrible IAF crashes that have been brought to light after years of silence:
Indian Army HAL Cheetah Z1930 crashes in Jammu and Kashmir. Both pilots survive.
An Indian Navy Mikoyan MiG-29K crashes into the Arabian Sea off Goa. The pilot ejects safely
National Cadet Corps Pipistrel Virus W-3936 crashes at Patiala Airport, India. One of the two people on board are killed
Indian Air Force MiG-29 UPG of Squadron 223 crashes near Hoshiarpur, pilot ejected safely
An Indian Navy MiG-29K crashes in the Arabian Sea. One of the pilots is recovered while the other remains missing. This flight was part of the MALABAR2020 Naval Exercise with the USN. The aircraft in question was flown off the deck of INS Vikramaditya Aircraft Carrie
An Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter crashed in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu at 1220 hours IST. The Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 13 others, including his wife and other family members were aboard the helicopter. As of 1630 hours IST, 11 bodies were recovered from the crash site
- A Mirage 2000 aircraft of the IAF on a training sortie crashed in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district on October 21, 2021.
An Indian Army HAL Cheetah (Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama) crashed or landed on a hill in foggy weather conditions in Shiv Ghar Dhar area, Udhampur district. Both pilots died in the crash and the helicopter was destroyed.
- A MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the IAF crashed during a training mission in Rajasthan’s Barmer on August 25, 2021.
- An IAF pilot was killed in a MiG-21 aircraft crash in Punjab’s Moga district on May 20, 2021.
- A group captain of the IAF was killed in an accident involving a Mig-21 Bison aircraft in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior on March 17, 2021.
- A MiG 21 Bison aircraft crashed while landing in Rajasthan’s Suratgarh on January 5, 2021.