Since 2016 the Indian Air Force (IAF) lost as many as 27 aircraft in crashes. A total of 33 aircraft met with accidents since 2015-16, revealed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik on Wednesday, June 26.
The provisional loss in 11 cases of crashes was around Rs 524.64 crore, Naik told the Lok Sabha.
Singh revealed that in the 2015-16 fiscal, IAF's four fighter jets, one helicopter, a transporter and a trainer aircraft met with accidents.
During 2016-17, six IAF fighter jets, two helicopters, and one trainer crashed while in 2017-18, the air force lost two fighter jets and one trainer aircraft.
Seven fighter jets, two helicopters and two trainer aircraft were lost in 2018-19, including the crash of the MiG-21 fighter jet piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman during combat with Pakistan Air Force planes on February 27. A Mi-17 helicopter also crashed the same day, leaving six Air Force personnel dead.
The An-32 transport aircraft crash in Arunachal Pradesh is the only reported incident in 2019-20.
'No plans to replace An-32'
Calling the Russian-made An-32 the workhorse of the IAF transport fleet, Singh said that there were no plans to phase out the aircraft because they have useful residual value.
"In the last four years, in addition to the crash on June 3, 2019, only one An-32 was lost on July 22, 2016, while flying over the Bay of Bengal," said Singh, adding that a part of the An-32 fleet has been upgraded with better avionics and airframe reinforcement. The remaining parts are planned to be upgraded.
A crash of the An-32 in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3 left 13 Air Force personnel dead.