IAF Officer Removed In Connection With Feb Budgam Chopper Crash, Radar System Failure Also Questioned

NEW DELHI

The Indian Air Force has removed an officer commanding at the Srinagar air base in connection with the crash of an Mi-17 helicopter in Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir, on February 27.

A Court of Inquiry is still investigating the crash and a final report is yet to be submitted. The air officer commanding, who is the senior-most officer on the base, was reportedly removed as the crash happened on his watch.

Six personnel of the Indian Air Force and a civilian were killed after the Mi-17 crashed in Budgam soon after taking off from the Srinagar airfield on a routine mission. The crash took place when jets of Indian and Pakistani air forces were engaged in a dogfight in Nowshera sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

The inquiry is looking into the role of a senior officer who ordered a ground-based missile to be fired shortly before the crash. At least four officers involved in the decision to launch the ground-based missile may face charges of different degrees.

The inquiry will also look into why the Identify Friend or Foe system, a radar-based identification system, on the chopper did not work.