In the last 24 months, there has been no loss of life in any aircrash involving Indian Air Force (IAF) planes — barring the unfortunate accident with An-32, the government told the Lok Sabha on Friday.
About IAF’s An-32 aircraft, which went missing over the Bay of Bengal on July 22, the government said it does not believe there is likely to be any survivor.
Responding to supplementary questions from Dushyant Chautala (Indian National Lok Dal) during question hour, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said with the exception of the An-32 incident, no life has been lost in an aircrash involving air force planes in the last 24 months.
He told Chautala that a Dornier aircraft which went missing on June 8, 2015, belonged to the Coast Guard.
Parrikar informed the house that the IAF had lost seven aircraft in crashes in 2013-14, ten in 2014-15, and six in 2015-16.
Up to August 9, 2016, four planes crashed, he said.
The Defence Minister also said any decision on upgrade and modernisation of military aircraft depends upon national security and threat perception.
“This is a continuous process,” Parrikar said.
Answering members’ queries, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Ramrao Bhamre said he doubted anyone would have survived the An-32 incident about three weeks after it occurred.
He was responding to a question by Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai (AIADMK), who wanted to know if there was any news about the fate of those in An-32 even as search for the missing transport aircraft continued.
Since “the spot where the incident happened is very deep,” it is “unlikely” that those aboard the aircraft would survive, Bhamre said.
A number of personnel and aircraft, including helicopters of the Air Force and Coast Guard, have been pressed into service but no “concrete” evidence has yet been found, he said.
Bhambre also said the complete wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, has not been found so far.
The wreckage and remains of the crew of Coast Guard’s Dornier aircraft were also found many days after it went missing on June 8, 2015, he said.
Former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinanool Congress also wanted to ask a supplementary on the issue, but complained that Speaker Sumitra Mahajan did not allow that.
“I don’t know why you never allow me to ask a question. Then what is the point sitting in the house,” he complained and even staged a walk-out for a brief period.