An Indian Air Force Jaguar strike aircraft crashed in Kutch in the state of Gujarat soon after take-off at around 10:30 am local time on June 6 morning, killing the pilot.
The deep penetration strike aircraft took off from the Jamnagar Airbase on a routine training mission and crashed in the Mundra taluk of Kutch district in the state’s northwestern region. The crash site is around 340 km from Ahmedabad. The plane reportedly hit cattle grazing in a field, killing them and the debris was strewn on the fields.
The pilot, Air Commodore Sanjay Chauhan suffered fatal injuries in the crash. He is currently the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of Jamnagar Air Force Station. He was a former Jaguar squadron commanding officer (No. 14 Squadron IAF (Bulls)) and a test pilot.
A court of inquiry has been ordered by the air headquarters to investigate the cause of the crash.
The incident comes months after an IAF microlight crashed in Assam’s Majuli island, killing two pilots — Wing Commander J James and Wing Commander D Vats.
SEPECAT Jaguar is a British-French twin-engine, ground attack jet aircraft originally used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Air Force in the close air support and nuclear strike role. It is still in service in significantly upgraded form with the Indian Air Force.
The airframes were manufactured by SEPECAT (Société Européenne de Production de l’avion Ecole de Combat et d’Appui Tactique), a joint venture between Breguet and the British Aircraft Corporation, one of the first major joint-Anglo-French military aircraft programs.
Jaguar has a maximum speed of 1,350 kmph, (around Mach 1.3). The aircraft was exported to India, Oman, Ecuador and Nigeria.
The aircraft can penetrate deep behind enemy lines on bombing runs and is used by the Indian Air Force in the Deep Penetration Strike Aircraft (DPSA) role. The aircraft was inducted into the Indian Air Force in 1979, almost four decades ago.