After fatal crash, Indian Air Force grounds 100 MiG-27s
New Delhi: After a fatal crash near Siliguri last week, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has grounded its fleet of nearly 100 Russian-origin MiG- 27 fighters on suspicions of a major engine snag. All five squadrons of the ground attack fighter, deployed primarily in the western and eastern sectors, have been confined to the ground since the February 16 crash in which a Squadron Leader was killed.
Indian Air Force MIG 27 seen taking part in an exercise at Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan.
Engine trouble is a known problem in the MiG-27 fleet with crashes in the past being attributed to defects in the R 29 engines of the aircraft. More worryingly, the initial probe has pointed to a major flaw in the engine that seems to have occurred during the overhauling of the aircraft by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The entire fleet had also completed an indigenous upgrade programme last year that was executed by HAL.
Raising a red flag on the serviceability of the fleet, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik said the initial probe hinted at a problem during the overhaul stage that went beyond the realm of day-to-day servicing.
"It (last week's crash) appears to be a fault in the low-pressure turbine blades of the aircraft. This is at the fourth line, at the overhaul stage," the Air Chief said, explaining the possible cause of the MiG-27 crash. He added that the second crash last week, in which a MiG-21 went down, was due to a sudden loss of engine power but investigations on the cause were still on.
Better late than never, at least this un-airworthy MIG fleet is grounded, now they should be scrapped. These are really unreliable jets, they are too big to fly and maneuver.
Why can't we go for Typhoons, Tornadoes or the F16 and 15's. Why can't we develop our own aircrafts indigenously. Indian engineers have all the skills and expertise to develop superior fighter jets, lets give it a go and see the result. This will be a wise option and certainly better than sadly seeing our brave pilots die for no reason.
Raj Mehta LLB