Accidents involving Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft have come down in the past three years despite flying for long hours compared to the air forces of other countries, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said on Tuesday.
Addressing journalists at the Air Force Station, Sulur, after President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit, Browne said while the average rate of crashes remained 11 or 12 a year, IAF aircraft accounted for three accidents this financial year.
“As we fly more and the number of accidents remains the same, the rate comes down. While India is having a rate close to 0.3, Pakistan Air Force has faced nearly 10 accidents this year though they fly very less,” he said.
“ The incidence level is expected to come down further as IAF is also concentrating on the technological advancements that play a major role in avoiding mishaps.” Browne said.
He recalled that the Defence Minister had recently announced that anti-collision equipment would be attached to all aircraft to be procured by IAF in the future to reduce air accidents.
Detailing the future plans of IAF, Browne said that it was hoping to increase the number of Squadrons from 34 to 39 by the end of the 14th Five Year Plan.
However, the current 34 Squadrons would be improved in terms of capabilities that would include the purchase of Sukhoi, Multi Role Combat Aircraft and Light Compact Aircraft. In the meantime, MiG aircraft, which were involved in the highest number of accidents, would be phased out from the IAF fleet. While MiG 21 would be phased out by 2014, MiG-27 combat planes were expected to be terminated from the force by 2017.
Apart from the two attack helicopters, IAF would soon complete the acquisition of 22 Apache helicopters from the US.
Meanwhile, Browne said the IAF has signed a contract for introducing air launch version of BrahMos missiles and trials would be started by the end of 2013.