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MiG-29K fighter jet destroyed after catching fire; pilot comes out safe

DH News Service, New Delhi, Jan 4 2018, 1:44 IST
Dabolim: Security personnel standing near the MiG-29 K fighter jet of the navy which overshot the runway and crashed at Dabolim Airport in Goa on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Dabolim: Security personnel standing near the MiG-29 K fighter jet of the navy which overshot the runway and crashed at Dabolim Airport in Goa on Wednesday. PTI Photo

A MiG-29K fighter aircraft of the Indian Navy wasdestroyed on Wednesday when the jet veered off the runway and caught fire inside INS Hansa naval base in Goa.
While the pilot, who was undergoing training, came out successfully, the jet caught fire causing a disruption in aviation traffic from the Goa airport, which is adjacent to the naval base. The same runway is being shared by the civil and military authorities.

"The pilot aborted a take-off during a training sortie. During deceleration, the aircraft veered off the end of the runway and caught fire. The pilot jettisoned the canopy and egressed the aircraft," said a Navy spokesperson. Subsequently, it caught fire.

The fire was expeditiously doused by the safety services. "A Board of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of accident. The runway at Goa was cleared and services were restored expeditiously," said the spokesperson.

This is the first accident involving the Russian origin carrier-borne combat jets, which operate from the top deck of India's only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and will also be flying from the future aircraft carrier, Viraat, that is under construction.

In June 2014, a MiG-29k aircraft hard-landed on the deck of INS Vikramaditya, but this is the first instance of total loss of the maritime fighter.


CAG finds defects

New Delhi purchased 45 naval fighters from Russia at a cost of Rs 10,409 crore. The first MiG-29K squadron was commissioned in Goa in August 2013.

However, in a 2016 report, the Comptroller and Auditor General pointed out the MiG-29K fighter jets had operational deficiencies due to defects in engines, air frame and fly-by-wire. Further, the aircraft continues to suffer from low serviceability.While the engine's reliability remained questionable, major defects of the air frame were reported from the first deck trial of the aircraft in July 2012, said the CAG report.

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