During the last three years (2008-09 to 2010-11) and current year 2011-12 (up to 13.3.2012) 33 fighter aircrafts which includes 01 Jaguar, 02 Mirage-2000, 03 Sukhoi-30 and 27 MIG series aircraft (including 16 MIG-21 series) and 10 helicopters of Indian Air Force (IAF) have crashed.
In the above accidents 26 defence personnel including 13 pilots have lost their lives. In addition 06 civilians have also lost their lives.
Majority of the above accidents were on account of Human Error (HE) and Technical Defect (TD). Every IAF aircraft accident is thoroughly investigated by a Court of Inquiry (Col) to ascertain the cause of accident. Remedial measures are taken accordingly to check their recurrence in future.
However, improvement of skills of pilots is a continuous process. Several steps have been taken by the Government in this regard. These include increased use of simulators to practice procedures and emergency actions, focused and realistic training with additional emphasis on the critical aspects of mission, introduction of Crew Resource Management and Operational Risk Management to enable safe mission launches, Aviation Psychology courses and introduction of Aerospace Safety capsules in the ab-initio training of aircrew.
Decisions to phase out aircraft are taken based on various factors including residual life of the aircraft and operational considerations and is reviewed by the Government from time to time. This is a continuous process.
This information was given by Minister of Defence Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Sugumar K and others in Lok Sabha today.