Mirage 2000 crashes in Rajasthan, second mishap in 11 days

A Mirage 2000 fighter plane of the Indian Air Force (IAF) today crashed near a village in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district, soon after taking off from an airbase in Gwalior, in a second mishap involving the aircraft type in 11 days.

The pilot managed to eject safely, IAF officials said. This is the second crash involving a Mirage-2000 aircraft since February 24.

"The crash took place 100 kilometres south-west of Jaipur near Baman Baas village in Sawai Madhopur district. Soon after taking off from Gwalior, the plane crashed at 1245 hours. The pilot managed to bail out safely," the officials said.

IAF and Army teams have reached the site of the accident and the pilot is being attended to for his injuries, they said, adding that the aircraft was on a routine sortie.

A court of inquiry (CoI) has been ordered to ascertain the reason for the crash.

Superintendent of Police, Sawai Madhopur, Anshuman Singh said a police party had been dispatched to the crash spot which was located in a hilly area.

This is the third crash involving an IAF aircraft this year. A Kiran MK II trainer plane had crashed in Chennai on January 30.

The second crash involving a Mirage-2000 aircraft took place on February 24 near Bhind in Madhya Pradesh.

The aircraft was being flown by Air Marshal Anil Chopra and Wing Commander Ram Kumar who had got airborne from Gwalior airbase for a routine flying sortie at 1201 hours. Within five minutes of taking off, the plane developed a technical snag and crashed in a forested area.

The two pilots had ejected safely and a CoI was ordered to ascertain the reason for the accident.

In this financial year, today's mishap is the eighth crash of a fighter aircraft of which most were from the MiG 21 series.

The Air Force operates a fleet of 51 Mirage aircraft from the Maharajpura air base in Gwalior.

These aircraft started getting inducted into the IAF in the mid-80s and have had a very good flight safety record, the officials said.

The IAF has also recently signed two deals worth over USD 3.2 billion for upgrading the capabilities of the Mirage 2000 with French companies Dassault, Thales and MBDA.

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