New Delhi: Indian Air Force has undertaken changes in its pilot training programme and other aspects of flying to bring down crashes involving its aircraft, Defence Ministry officials have said.

This was conveyed by IAF officers to Defence Minister AK Antony who had called a meeting of the top air force brass and ministry officials in the wake of recent air crashes, they said.

During the meeting, the Minister was given a detailed account of the recent crashes involving IAF planes and the measures taken by the force to check such accidents in future, the officials told.

They said IAF officers gave a presentation to the Defence Minister last week on the changes in pilot training programme and other aspects of flying to bring down crashes.

Of the six air crashes involving IAF planes this year, four belonged to the MiG-21 fighter aircraft series. Most of the crashes had taken place between August and October.

According to the officials, a total 976 MiG-21 planes had been inducted into the service since 1960s and over half of them were lost in accidents.

A MiG-29 fighter plane had recently crashed in the Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh while it was on a routine night- flying training sortie. While the wreckage of the plane was found by an IAF search team after a nine-day exercise, there is still no news of the pilot, Squadron Leader Dharmendra Singh Tomar.

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne while talking to reporters on the occasion of Air Force Day parade last month had said that most of the accidents had taken place due to inexperience of the pilots who were unable to control the aircraft during take offs and landings.

Stressing upon the need for a basic trainer aircraft to train young pilots, he had said various steps were being taken, including devoting greater number of hours to simulator flying, to bring down pilot casualty in the force.

(Agencies)