An Indian Air Force trainer aircraft crashed in West Bengal’s Midnapore shortly after taking off on Thursday but both pilots managed to eject safely, officials said. IAF officials said the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer which had taken off from Kalaikunda air base at 10.30 am, developed a technical snag.
“After takeoff, the aircraft developed unserviceability resulting in a crash,” a statement from the IAF said.
Both pilots ejected safely before the aircraft crashed around 11 a.m. The IAF has ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident. The Hawk has capability of performing air-to-air and air-to-ground attack roles, though it is primarily aimed at training pilots in weapons delivery.
The first IAF Hawk AJT crashed on April 29, 2008 at Air Force Station Bidar (Karnataka), and another crash happened on June 3, 2015, near Baharagora, close to the West Bengal-Odisha border.
Thursday’s incident comes as the IAF is still looking for an AN-32 aircraft that went missing on way from Chennai to Port Blair on July 22. No trace of the aircraft has so far been found.