Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by aditya g, Dec 28, 2015.
Geological Survey of India.
Note the sensors.
Private leased chopper by CRPF crash lands. Apparently it was carrying 5 COBRA commandos.
I would like to know what operation the 5 commandos were planning to execute? Whats the point of spending 10s of thousands per hour of flight on this senseless ops? No wonder CRPF and IAF fell out as the latter would not tolerate any nonsensical helicopter requests.
A private helicopter carrying CoBRA commandos today crash landed near a CRPF camp in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district resulting in minor injuries to five occupants.
Officials said two officers and a commando of the elite jungle warfare unit of the CoBRA were among five people who received injuries after the crash took place around 5:30 PM near the Chintagupha camp of the paramilitary force, in south Bastar.
They said the pilot and the engineer of the Bell-206 helicopter, hired on lease by the CRPF for anti-Naxal operations in the state, were also injured.
"All the three officials of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action, which is CoBRA, and the two crew members are safe now," a senior officer said.
Sukma Superintendent of Police Abhishek Meena told PTI that the private chopper "lost its control and tilted a bit towards ground while landing in Chintagupha police station area this evening".
"The rotor blade of the chopper is reported to have damaged in the incident," he added.
According to officials, the Commanding Officer of a CoBRA battalion deployed in Chhattisgarh, his second-in-command and a jawan had gone to Chintagupha for a meeting.
CRPF Director General Sudeep Lakhtakia was present in the area for reviewing operations in the aftermath of the April 24 ambush.
The Chintagupha camp of the Central Reserve Police Force is deep inside Sukma and two days ago, Naxals killed 25 CRPF personnel in a deadly ambush near here in an area called Burkapal.
@rkhanna - please see above posts for CRPF experience with choppers. FYI.
The ministry will soon provide a chopper to the NSG to be used in case of exigencies. Though the NSG had two choppers, one had a crash landing some time ago, while the other was non-functional.
"The NSG urgently needs a helicopter. The chopper may be given from the existing fleet of the Border Security Force or from the Indian Air Force. We are working on it," the official said.
Thanks. Nice articles all in one place. (PS Arc dont exist anymore. Assets have been amalgamated into another Agency ;p)
And here are some of the issues with those assets. Whether Civilian / BSF/ IAF
1. Civilian Helo`s and too an extent even BSF pilots have been unwilling a number of times to fly too close to the OPFOR due to taking small arms fire. Simply put a number of times Pilots were vanilla transport roles with no real training for combat missions and hot extractions and support.
2. Today most of these Helo`s have been rendered for ferrying around brass or cas evac from Casualty Collection Points that they no are 100% secure and at the rear of the engagement. Cobra brass is highly scared of loosing assets (read not men) in the field. It shows poorly on their performance review and these assets are rarely utilized to the max. Hell a couple of years ago i even read that the X-95 Rifles are used primarily on the parade ground and rarely let out outside the wire just incase a jawan happened to loose it.
COIN specially in that part of the world is HIGHLY fluid and needs specially trained pilots that can and will take the necessary risks within the constraints of the Rules of Engagement
3. IAF Choppers (with Garud in support) are only being pressed in now and that too primarily in a QRT and secondary in a Recce Role. And IAF pilots are highly frustrated as they are under CRPF command. Different rules of engagement and procedures and priorities.
A CoBRA commander has pressure and engagement criteria coming from Local Police, Local Community Leaders, Politicians and their own brass - This confluence of rubbish does not sit well with IAF pilots and essentially its a Khichdi.
- Further highlights the need for a Native Effective force that is insync with the COIN Commanders on the Ground.
WRT to CRPF - The Sad reality is that COBRA was raised and pressed into service WITH ZERO Strategic foresight and planning or policy in place. And this reflects in their use of Aviation Assets.
BSF air wing less than a dozen aircraft and yet wants to fly out of Delhi, Ranchi & Guwahati. And it does not even have a central base of operations. This despite having access to Safdarjung Airport (SAP).
Home Ministry basically wants a VVIP airline for themselves. Instead of maintaining such an expensive fleet they might as well lease from Pawan Hans per need.
On July 4 this year, MoS Home Kiren Rijiju had a narrow escape when his Mi-17 helicopter made an emergency landing in Arunachal Pradesh due to bad weather. Rijiju thanked the pilots for saving his life. What he didn’t know, perhaps, was that one of the pilots flying him was an uncategorised (or trainee) pilot.
Now, one of the pilots of the BSF’s Air Wing has written to its top brass, alleging that like Rijiju, several VIPs, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, have been flying in unsafe conditions, with uncategorised pilots flying VIPs, aircraft not being maintained properly and standard operating procedures of flying and safety not being followed.
The BSF Air Wing has eight Mi-17 V5 choppers and an Embraer, largely to fly VIPs and for rescue of injured personnel during anti-Naxal operations.
The letter, written by Wing Commander Yogesh Kumar Daksh, has pointed out that since June 2015, not a single flight safety meeting has been held, the Air Wing does not even conduct pre-flight medical check-ups of pilots and, in the name of base operations, it has a telephone operator doubling up as control room.
The letter dated August 15 is addressed to the BSF’s IG (Air) and points out that the choppers are registered under military rules and fly under SOPs issued by the Indian Air Force.
“In the last few months it has been observed that there has been gross dilution in adherence to these orders and SOP. This trend may lead to serious accident/incident, jeopardising the life and safety of the aircrew and passengers involved in flying,” says the letter.
It points out a serious safety issue when it says that the BSF Air Wing does not have a single Infra Red (IR) Flare to thwart being targeted by missiles. “The BSF Air Wing is not even holding a single IR flare on its inventory and the helicopters are frequently tasked to fly without IR flares fitted, even at times with VIPs on board,” the letter says.
IR flares are used as a protection against heat-seeking missiles. They are released to divert an incoming missile.
A BSF Air Wing officer, however, played down the concern, saying such threats are anticipated in situations of war and it was unlikely the home minister’s chopper would be targeted by a missile while flying inside the country. “But yes, it’s a precautionary measure which would not be bad to carry while flying in Kashmir. But all this costs a lot of money and resources are limited. We have to manage in the funds we have,” said another BSF pilot.
On pilots, the letter said the “aircrew are frequently tasked to fly with uncategorised pilots”. Besides the Rijiju incident, the letter mentions that a year ago, on October 2, 2016, when the Director General of the Bangladesh Rifles or Border Guards Bangladesh was on a visit to India, he was flown in a chopper where both the pilots were uncategorised.
Sources said there are various categories of pilots ranging from A to C. An uncategorised pilot is as good as a trainee as he cannot do “instrument flying”, which means he can only fly with the aide of sight.
A senior BSF officer, however, said the uncategorised pilot who flew Rijiju on July 4 had five years of experience in flying and so could not be called “unsafe”. “But yes, we do have a problem of crew. We don’t have enough people. And so we have to make do with uncategorised pilots,” the officer said.
The letter also points out there is no operations base at Safdarjung airport in Delhi. “There is a telephone operator in the control room at SAP, Delhi who is clueless about the aircrew and flying requirements,” the letter says.
The letter also says the aircraft are lacking in maintenance. It says while there are technicians to maintain engine and airframe, all supervisors sit in Delhi.
An Air Wing source said that this was because, of the three air bases at Ranchi, Guwahati and Delhi, everyone wants to stay in Delhi. “There is no reason for four supervisors to sit in Delhi. During emergencies, will they run to Ranchi and Guwahati?” asked another pilot.
A senior Air Wing officer, however, said the infrastructure at Ranchi and Guwahati are not fully developed and so large-scale servicing was not being done at these bases.
In its reply to a detailed questionnaire sent to the BSF and the Home Ministry, the BSF AIR Wing said, “BSF has very limited resources in terms of Pilots and Technicians, thus, most of the air crew and ground crew is on deputation/ absorption from IAF and are highly experienced professionals. Thus safety of Ops including VIP is always ensured and it is for this reason that the Mi-17 fleet has had NIL accident, incident flying since it started ops in 2003.”
It, however, said that the issues pointed out had been taken note of. “The Fixed Wing and Rotatory wings are respectively headed by DIG-level officers (who are ex-Air Force pilots). The overall command is with Air Vice Marshal rank officer from IAF. The issues as brought out have been adequately been taken note of. Any further observations of Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) would be duly addressed in order to ensure safe and effective continuation of operations.”
A senior BSF AIR Wing officer said a lot of these complaints were being made because the Seventh Pay Commission had removed flying incentive for pilots.
BSF Air Wing
^ Oct 2005
^ Oct 2005 - Safdarjung
When the Central Intelligence Agency recently revealed that Pandit Nehru had allowed American planes to use the airbase in Charbatia (Odisha) in the 1960s, I wondered if I could finally write about the time I spent in that place. I lived there as a teenager in the 1980s, when my father — who was in the Indian Police Service — was posted there. It seemed a place so unknown that nothing happened and yet so secretive that, even years after I left it, I could hardly mention it.
The biggest excitement was the open-air weekly movie that unfolded on a white cloth screen to show us Hindi movies already a decade old. Even this was surpassed one evening when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Charbatia; rather when his plane landed in the Air Force Base. I asked my father if he could ask for the Prime Minister’s autograph. He refused; no one was even supposed to know he was there. In the end, the Prime Minister’s visit lasted little more than half an hour.
Charbatia was a 35-minute drive from Cuttack, the main city of Odisha. Postcards marked the place as the Aviation Research Centre, though there didn’t seem to be anything like a research establishment around. The town seemed idyllic, a total contrast to the chaos of Cuttack with its cacophonic streets, mismatched houses, the smell of urine and low-hanging dust clouds. Everything in Charbatia was orderly. Regular streets cut apartment blocks into perfect squares and it had a club, a park, even a library where I made my first acquaintance with the genre called the ‘American adventure novel’.
We travelled in a bus to school in Cuttack. The vehicle, I learnt later, was designed just like American school buses, with the engine in a smaller square box in front, so that it looked like a beetle on the road. But it was the American connection that was, of course, the best-kept secret of all.
Some afternoons, I rode my bicycle, with my sister sitting behind, up to a patch of eucalyptus trees at one end of the airbase. These were totally unusual for that part of Odisha and planted in a far too orderly manner. All we could see behind the fence were the tail ends of planes: the AN-32s and the Lear jets. The former, of course, were Russian-made and used as transport planes. The American Lear jets, we were told, were used for training purposes.
The planes flew everywhere on their strangely hush-hush missions, not just to Delhi. However, by this time the surveillance operations on the Indo-China border were a thing of the past. But the stories lived on: of the pilot who had flown 11 hours non-stop from a U.S. base and then was so terribly exhausted that he lost the will to return home.
Nevertheless Charbatia had had a life even before the 1960s. This area had witnessed action during World War II. At that time, there were a string of airbases all along the coastline. Besides Charbatia, there was Amarda in Odisha that served as a Royal Air Force base and one at Jharsaguda, in the north. Now, in the 1980s, there were flights to other smaller, and perhaps equally secretive, air bases; places we knew as Kakardooma up in the north and Doomdooma in Assam. The former was where the Special Frontier Force, set up as a special unit with China in mind, had its base.
The 1000-odd families that lived in Charbatia mainly comprised defence and administration personnel. And the scientists: a group of greying men, as secretive as the work they did. They worked on special surveillance cameras that recorded images that could be reinterpreted and re-imaged in labs where grainy fuzzy aspects emerged to become clear features of landscape. I remember one expert with cameras who had an old-fashioned gold Edwardian pocket watch with a double Albert watch chain on his waistcoat.
My father was in charge of the administration and it seemed a fairly manageable place. There was hardly anyone in the streets in mid-afternoons or late evenings; it resembled a dead city at these times. Once, a rape was hushed up in the quarters of the junior staff. On another occasion, our household help turned up wailing after she was put in custody for one night on charges of ‘vandalism’ and public rioting.
By the late 1980s, however, Charbatia had considerably diminished. The government didn't seem to know what to do with it, yet the secrecy remained. We learnt that it would be used to make bullet-proof government cars as security concerns suddenly became important around that time. Most families from there moved to Delhi. And my friends became batch-mates or juniors at one of the many colleges that made up Delhi University. We learnt again that the houses were to be sold off to private developers and owners.
But, of course, Charbatia continued to live on. Even as threats of war in the Kargil sector loomed in 1999, planes flew from there to report on movements of Pakistan forces on the border. In more recent years, there has been news of the Indian Air Force reviving its old airbases, including Charbatia. With the release of archival papers, and an acknowledgement of its history, Charbatia’s story can have new beginnings.
Pawan Hans Mi-17 for medevac for Orissa police jawan injured in Maowadi hamla
Separate names with a comma.