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IAF lost 31 pilots, 68 planes in three years: Fernandes
February 20, 2003 17:26 IST
The Indian Air Force lost as many as 31 pilots and 68 aircraft in crashes during the past three years, Defence Minister George Fernandes told the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Fifteen pilots were killed in 2000-01 and 27 aircraft lost in crashes, nine pilots were killed and 20 planes lost in 2001-02 and seven pilots killed and 21 planes lost in 2002-03 till February 17, Fernandes said in reply to a question.
He said the government was keen on early procurement of the Advanced Jet Trainers for the Indian Air Force though no contract had been finalised as yet. "There is no direct relationship between the aircraft crashes and the absence of an AJT," he said.
Fernandes said several measures had been taken to improve the quality of training to improve the skill and confidence of pilot trainees.
The effect of these measures could be assessed in the next two to three years when the pilots gain operational status at various squadrons, he said.