A MiG 29K Indian Navy’s
combat aircraft accident on the runway at Goa airport on Wednesday could have
been avoided, sources said, if only there had been an aircraft arrester
barrier; fortunately, the trainee pilot ejected safely from the aircraft which
crashed inside INS Hansa base while it was trying to take off.
The aircraft costing
approximately Rs 400 crore is a complete write off, sources said.
The eastern end of the
runway at Dabolim Airport had an aircraft arrester barrier system until 2005
when it was destroyed in an accident. It has not been replaced since.
An aircraft arrester barrier, as the name
itself suggests, arrests the speed of the aircraft on the runway, absorbing the
forward momentum in a landing or aborted takeoff. It is said the cost of arrester
would be somewhere about 1.25 crore; and, now the cost of the aircraft lost
totally is said to be about Rs 400 crore.
An aircraft arrester barrier is said to
be a mandatory requirement for all airports.
Air Marshal PS Ahluwalia, former C-in-C Western Command
terms the lack of aircraft arrester barriers ‘against the primary norms of
flight safety.’ “All IAF airbases flying fighters are mandatorily equipped with
electrically operated arrester barriers, it’s one of the basics of flying
fighters,” he said.
This is the first crash of a MiG-29K, an aircraft
inducted into the Navy in 2009. The Navy operates 45 MiG-29Ks in two squadrons,
including four trainer aircraft, first acquired as part of a 2004 contract
signed with Russia for the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya