CDS death: An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor on Wednesday. Thirteen people have been confirmed dead in the incident, which includes CDS and his wife apart from top army officials. IAF’s Mi17V5 chopper, with Rawat, his wife and 12 defence personnel on-board, departs from Sulur airbase (near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu) around 11.45 am for Defence Services Staff College in Wellington.
General Bipin Rawat, India’s highest-ranking military official, leading efforts to modernize the country’s armed forces, died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday along with his wife and 11 others, officials said. His death was confirmed in a statement by the Union defence minister, Rajnath Singh, after hours of uncertainty. The loss of General Rawat, who as the chief of defence staff coordinated the various wings of India’s armed forces, comes at a particularly strained moment as India’s military finds itself stretched by threats on two of its borders as well as the impact of a slowing economy.
But what was the reason for the chopper crash? Is it human error or a technical snag or weather conditions that led to the country’s biggest defence related tragedy? On the other hand it is not being ruled out if sabotage has occurred! The Indian Air Force has order for a detailed investigation into the incident and at the moment none are able to reveal the exact reasons.
Interesting the army personnel have found the black box in the crash site and have secured it. It is being said the exact reasons for the chopper crash could be ascertained with the help of black box. It will be sent for analysis to find out what had occurred in the last moments before it went down in the jungle. According to sources, examination of the Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorder will give insights into the crash when the chopper was heading to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, from the Air Force Station, Sulur, near Coimbatore.
The Mi-17V-5 is the latest twin-engine version of the Russian Mi-17 transport helicopter and is designed to carry personnel, equipment and cargo. It can also carry cargo on the outside as the helicopter is fitted with an external sling. The Mi-17V-5 helicopter is primarily used for tactical air drops, destroying targets on the ground and carrying the wounded. The helicopter is capable of operating in any geographical and climatic conditions and is used regularly for high-altitude operations in India.
The helicopter has a maximum take-off weight of 13,000kg. It can transport either 36 armed soldiers internally or 4,500kg of load on a sling. The helicopter is also equipped with modern avionics — a heavily armoured cockpit and a self-defence system against heat-seeking missiles. It can carry arms like unguided rockets, cannons, and small arms. The Mi-17V-5 helicopter has a maximum speed of 250km/h, and a standard range of 580km. It can be extended to 1,065 km when fitted with two auxiliary fuel tanks. It can fly at a maximum altitude of 6,000 m.
It is unfortunate that such sophisticated chopper had a fatal crash and it needs to be understood what was the exact reason before we come to a conclusion!