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Ministry of Defence05-November, 2012 18:14 IST
Antony Asks Air Force For Early Completion of Courts of Inquiry on Air Crashes First Training Course on Pilatus to Begin in July Next Year

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today asked the top brass of Indian Air Force to complete all pending Court of Inquiry (CoI) proceedings into air accidents as early as possible and take appropriate remedial measures so that the possibility of future accidents are minimized. Addressing a meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry here he said even one accident is a matter of serious concern.

Shri Antony said a Joint Committee comprising representatives of Ministry of Defence, Indian Air Force, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., DRDO and DG AQA has been constituted to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Court of Inquiry specially for Category-I aircraft accidents. Category-I accidents are those in which the aircraft is destroyed or damaged beyond economical repair, or is missing or the cost of repair, excluding damage to aero-engines exceeds 50% of the total cost.

Shri Antony said a one-time inspection of all helicopter detachments was carried out in view of the fact that an unusually high number of accidents and incidents on helicopters occur, when they are operating away from their parent base. These inspections resulted in highlighting several shortcomings. Action is being taken on these shortcomings on a priority basis.

Another area of focus, he said, is the training standards of young fighter aircrew. The deficiencies in training are rectified by a review of training patterns, enhancement of availability of training aircraft and strengthening of training procedures. The basic flying training task was shifted from HPT-32 to Kiran aircraft. To make up for the deficiencies of training resources, the availability of Kiran aircraft is being enhanced to strengthen the foundation training of ab-initio pilots. Maximum availability of simulators is ensured during training. Procurement of 75 Basic Trainer Aircraft has been fast-tracked and the first training course on the new trainer aircraft ‘Pilatus’ will commence in July 2013.

Shri Antony said Plans to phase out equipment approaching redundancy are also in place and certain critical procurements have been fast-tracked. Non-upgraded MiG-27 and MiG-21 are being phased out progressively by March 2016 and March 2018 respectively.

Cutting across party lines, the Members of Parliament complimented Indian Air Force for progressively bringing down Cat-I accident rates over the past thirty years. However, they cautioned IAF not to sit on laurels and take further measures in air safety to match the global standards.

Responding to a query on the shortage of spare parts for the aging aircraft fleet of Indian Air Force, Shri Antony said earlier the acquisition of aircraft and replenishment of spare parts used to be dealt with by separate contracts. He said in the new contracts we are taking corrective measures and product support is built into the process of acquisition of new aircraft.

The Members of Parliament also urged the Government to accelerate the process of modernization of airports and air fields in various parts of the country because such a measure will not only improve air safety but will also spur economic growth of the regions.

The Members of Parliament who attended the meeting included Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri Suresh Kalmadi, Shri Harshvardhan, Shri Kailkesh N. Singh Deo, Shri Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, Shri Gopal Singh Shekhawat, Shri Ram Chandra Khuntia, Shri Veer Singh, Shri HK Dua and Shri Piyush Goyal.

The newly inducted Minister of State for Defence Shri Jitendra Singh, the Defence Secretary Shri Shashikant Sharma, the Secretary (Defence Production) Shri RK Mathur, SA to RM Shri VK Saraswat, the Secretary Ex-Servicemen’s Welfare Shri Vijay Chibber, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal DC Kumria and other officials of the Ministry of Defence and Air Force also attended the meeting.

Sitanshu Kar/NN
(Release ID :88848)

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