IAF shot down its own helicopter in Budgam in February, air force chief admits
Rakesh Bhadauria said the court of inquiry had found that air force’s missile had hit its own chopper.
Indian Air Force chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria admitted on Friday that the Mi-17 chopper, which crashed in Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir on February 27, was the force’s own mistake. The incident, which killed six military personnel and a civilian, took place a day after the security forces conducted strikes in Balakot, Pakistan, and on the day of a dogfight between Indian and Pakistani jets.
“Court of Inquiry completed and it was our mistake as our missile had hit our own chopper,” he told ANI. “We will take action against two officers. We accept this was our big mistake and we will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in future.” The air force had ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident.
The inquiry also found that the ‘Identification of Friend or Foe’ system on-board the helicopter was switched off, and there was a “vital gap” in coordination between the ground crew and the chopper.
Indian Air Force jets had struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist camp in Balakot in Khyber Paktunkhwa province of Pakistan on February 26, in retaliation for the killing of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Pulwama on February 14.
On February 27, Pakistan Air Force jets violated Indian airspace and shot down a MiG-21, but failed to hit military installations they had targeted.
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