New Delhi: The Indian Air Force has lost 33 fighter aircraft, including three Sukhoi-30MKI, in mishaps since 2008 and 26 defence personnel were killed in these crashes, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.
"During last three years-2008-2011, and current year up to March, 33 fighter aircraft including one Jaguar, two Mirage-2000, three Sukhoi-30 and 27 MiG-series and 10 helicopters have crashed," Defence Minister A K Antony said in a written reply to a question on crashes of IAF aircraft.
"26 defence personnel, including 13 pilots, have lost their lives. Six civilians have also lost their lives," Antony added.
On reasons for these crashes, the Defence Minister said, "Majority of accidents were on account of Human Error and Technical Defect."
Every IAF accident is thoroughly investigated by a Court of Inquiry (CoI) to ascertain the cause of accident and remedial measures are taken accordingly to check their recurrence, he said.
Denying that inexperience of pilots is one of the reasons for these crashes, he said, "However, improvement of skills of pilots is a continuous process. Several steps have been taken by government in this regard."
The measures include increased use of simulators to practice emergency actions, focused and realistic training with emphasis on critical aspects of mission, introduction of Crew Resources Management and Operational Risk Management to enable safe mission launches.
On phasing out of MiG-21 aircraft, Antony said, "Decision to phase out aircraft are taken based on various factors including their residual life and operational considerations and is reviewed by government from time to time. This is a continuous process."