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Another Indian Army Mirage 2000 crashes in Gwalior, pilot killed

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Nov 10, IRNA -- An Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage 2000 
fighter caught fire and crashed Tuesday night in the forests of 
Barsota, 75 kilometers from Gwalior, in the central Indian state of 
Madhya Pradesh, some 15 minutes after take-off. 
Squadron leader Sanjiv Sharma, public relations officer of the 
Indian Air Force, told IRNA on telephone Wednesday morning that the 
Mirage 2000 was on a routine practice sortie and took off at 20:30 
hours from Gwalior air base. The pilot, Neehar Gaurani, died in the 
accident. 
He said 15 minutes after taking off, the Mirage lost radar and 
RT contact. The wreckage was seen 50 kilometers northeast of Gwalior 
base, he added. 
There was no damage to life and property in the civilian areas, 
he said, adding that a court of inquiry has been ordered to probe 
the incident. 
It was the fourth Mirage to go down in two months. 
French-made Mirage 2000s, inducted into the Indian Air Force 
in 1987, are the frontline aircraft of the IAF and have had very 
safe flying records. 
This is the seventh Indian crash and the third involving the 
Mirage in the past three weeks. On Oct 12, a Mirage aircraft, which 
left the Gwalior airbase for a practice interception sortie, crashed 
after developing the same problem. 
A Mirage 2000 crashed during training sorties just two months 
after induction. This first crash occurred during an Air Force Day 
airshow here over Palam technical area in 1988, killing its pilot wing
commander Joe Bakshi. Another aircraft crashed over the Gwalior 
airbase in 1994. On Oct 12, another aircraft, which left the Gwalior 
airbase for a practice interception sortie crashed after developing 
the same problem. 
Mirage 2000s played a crucial role during the 1999 Kargil war and 
the IAF is in the process of acquiring 125 upgraded Mirage 2000-5 
version of the fighters. 
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