New Delhi: In year 2011-2012, the armed forces have lost 28 aircraft and 14 helicopters in crashes, which killed 42 people. Out of 28 aircraft crashes 14 were ageing MiG fighter variants that should have been retired long ago.
Manohar Parrikar, defence minister said in a written reply tabled in Lok Sabha on Friday, said that "The loss to government in terms of value of aircraft and service property in respect of 26 accidents assessed so far is estimated at Rs 1,127.37 crore".
As per reports published by TOI the main two reasons for the frequent crashes are attributed to "human errors" and "technical defects".
Parrikar said the defence acquisitions council (DAC) last August had decided that in order to balance the important issues of urgency and strategic interests, the total requirement of new helicopters for Army and IAF would be met by procuring an immediate requirement, with the balance being manufactured domestically.
The long-delayed project to acquire 197 new light helicopters from abroad, for instance, has been scrapped three times over the last decade due to technical deviations and allegations of corruption. HAL, too, is still nowhere near delivering the 187 similar light helicopters it was supposed to make "within 60 months" when its project was sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Security in February 2009.
Parrikar said, "Phasing out of helicopters/fighters and their replacement with new-generation aircraft depends upon the national security/strategic objectives and operational requirements, and are reviewed by the government from time to time. This is a continuous process".