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MiG-29K jet mishap: Goa Naval Air Station operating without crash barrier since 2005

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

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