Indian Air Force’s Tejas Aircraft Crashes in Jaisalmer, Pilot Safe

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Indian Air Force’s Tejas Aircraft Crashes in Jaisalmer, Pilot Safe

| Updated: March 12, 2024 17:02

A Tejas aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed into the compound of a student hostel in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan during a training sortie. The pilot managed to eject safely and no injuries have been reported on the ground. This marks the first crash of the indigenous jet since its inaugural test flight 23 years ago in 2001.

The light combat aircraft, Tejas, which was inducted into the Indian Air Force in 2016, crashed around 2 pm near the Lakshmi Chand Sanwal Colony in Jaisalmer. The Indian Air Force confirmed the pilot’s safety and announced that an investigation has been launched to ascertain the cause of the accident.

The aircraft caught fire upon impact, but the flames have since been extinguished. It remains unclear whether the aircraft was participating in the ongoing war games in Rajasthan.

A witness at the scene recounted, “I was standing nearby when the pilot ejected. I saw a parachute open and then the aircraft crashed into the ground, causing a loud explosion.”

The first IAF Squadron to operate the Tejas was the No. 45 Squadron, also known as the ‘Flying Daggers’, back in 2016. The No. 18 Squadron became the second IAF unit to operate the Tejas in 2020.

Currently, the Indian Air Force operates 40 Tejas MK-1 aircraft and has placed an order for 83 Tejas MK-1A fighters in a deal worth over ₹ 46,000 crore. In November last year, the Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of an additional 97 Tejas planes for the force.

The Indian Navy also operates a twin-seater variant of the aircraft.

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