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IAF temporarily stops routine training flying of Mirage

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Air Force has temporarily stopped all routine training flying of Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft as a precautionary measure after two of these planes crashed within a span of 11 days in February and March.

In written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha Wednesday, Defence Minister A K Antony said, "The commencement of flying of Mirage-2000 fleet is being undertaken in stages post completion of checks."

"Following the accidents of Mirage-2000 aircraft of the IAF on February 24 and March 5, all routine training flying on the Mirage-2000 fleet has been temporarily stopped as a precautionary measure," he said.

No loss of life was reported in these crashes.

During the last two years from 2010 to 2012 and current financial year up to April, two Mirage-2000 aircraft have crashed and technical defect was the cause of both accidents, he told the House.

On upgradation of aircraft fleet, he said, "Upgradation of aircraft fleet, including Mirage-2000 aircraft, is reviewed from time to time keeping in view several factors including the operational requirements of the IAF. This is a continuous process."

On simulator training in the force, he said the IAF has simulators for Kiran Mkl/IA, Hawk Mk-32, An-32 and Dornier aircraft.

"All these simulators are serviceable. Further simulators are being procured along with new induction of aircraft like the Basic Trainer Aircraft and Intermediate Jet Trainer aircraft," he said.

Meanwhile, defence sources said that the Mirage-2000 fleet has started to fly after a detailed investigation, which was ordered after the crashes took place.

The aircraft are being progressively checked and cleared for flying one by one, they said.

The IAF had ordered a detailed investigation of the entire fleet of the Mirage based at Gwalior following the crashes in February and March.

Pilots flying the trainer version of the aircraft had managed to bail out safely and escaped the crash with minor injuries.

Mirage-2000s have a good safety track record and the reasons of crash would be known after the Court of Inquiry complete its probe, they said.

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