IAF Squadron Leader Samir Abrol's brother has drawn attention to the deplorable condition of fighter jets in the country through an emotional poem. Abrol and Squadron Leader Siddhartha Negi died when a Dassault Mirage 2000, upgraded by HAL, crashed in Bengaluru on February 1.
Sushant Abrol's emotional outburst of words came when he was ferrying his brother's body back home to New Delhi. He also posted the poem on Facebook. It highlights the fact that young jet pilots in the country are running a huge risk to their lives by flying outdated planes while the bureaucrats are busy enjoying their wine.
"Never had he breathed so heavy, as for the last time. While the bureaucracy enjoyed its corrupt cheese and wine. We give our warriors outdated machines to fight. They still deliver it with all their prowess and might," read an excerpt from the poem.
Abrol's wife Garima, who is a Zumba instructor and a physiotherapist, also posted the poem on her Instagram account.
Abrol's family has pledged to raise awareness on the sorry state of affairs at HAL which upgrades jet planes and helicopters before they are handed over to the IAF.
Sushant has created a hashtag #lostpilots on social media to emphasise the need to provide the pilots in the country with safe and upgraded planes and save their lives.
The pilot's family said they are not pinpointing at any individual for the tragedy but attention needs to be drawn towards such recurrent plane crashes.
"We have full faith in IAF and are waiting for the court of enquiry and consider Samir's loss as a loss to the nation," the family said in a statement.
Who is responsible for recurrent aircraft crashes?
The Mirage 2000 has been a reliable aircraft used by IAF for several decades and in fact, was a turning point during the Kargil war when it dropped laser bombs on Pakistan pockets along LoC.
The government had signed a nearly $3 billion deal with French company Dassault in 2011-12 to upgrade nearly 51 Mirage 2000 aircraft out of which two were upgraded and the rest were to be upgraded by HAL.
However, over the course of time, HAL has only been able to upgrade seven aircraft and the one which crashed on February 1 was also upgraded and given to the two pilots for a test run.
But the fully refurbished plane crashed when it took off and the pilots could not evacuate safely as the parachute caught fire.
The test pilots at HAL are usually asked to fly the upgraded aircraft up to a certain limit so that they are ready to be used by the IAF.