An investigation into the Budgam Mi17 V5 helicopter crash revealed that an Indian air defence missile was fired shortly before the chopper crashed near Srinagar on February 27, reported The Economic Times. In the crash, six Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel, including two officers lost their lives. A civilian was also killed in the incident. The investigators are probing the final moments of the crash to find out whether the IFF (Identity, Friend or Foe) system was off or on.
The detailed investigation will be carried out to determine whether the IFF system failed in spite of multiple layers of safeguards meant to protect assets from friendly fire. If any discrepancy is found out then measures will be taken to improve the system. According to the report, on February 27, when over 25 Pakistani air force jets were detected along the Indian border, an Israeli origin missile was activated after an air defence alert was sounded over Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the border. ‘R-73 Selected’, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s Last Radio Message Before Ejecting Out of Mig-21 Bison.
According to the report, there were also concerns that armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) would also try to enter the Indian Territory along with the fighter jets. It might be possible that a slow moving target like the Mi 17 V 5 helicopter could potentially be mistaken for a low flying armed UAV, reported ET. When an air defence alert is sounded, there are a set of rules that transport aircraft and helicopters need to follow, and also aircraft need to switch on their IFF systems. Pakistan Air Force Pilot Shahzaz Ud Din Whose F-16 Was Shot Down by Wg Cd Abhinandan Varthaman Mistaken to be Indian; Lynched by PoK Locals?
Six IAF personnel – Wing Commander Sidharth Sharma, Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane, Sergeant Vikrant Sherawat, Corporal Deepak Pandey, Corporal Pankaj Kumar and engineer Vishal Kumar Pandey were killed in the crash. A civilian also lost his life in the incident. The 20-year-old Kifayat Hussain, was caught in the explosion after the crashed helicopter landed in fields in Budgam. The accident occurred at 10:10 am in the morning on February 27.
(Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@IAF_MCC)