Friday, August 21, 2009

Upgraded Sea Harrier Crashes Off Goa Coast

A Sea Harrier of the Indian Navy crashed this morning, minutes before 12PM off the coast of Goa. The pilot, Lt Cdr Saurav C Saxena of the White Tigers Squadron was killed in the crash. A court of inquiry (COI) has been ordered. The aircraft that crashed one of the seven newly upgraded (Limited Upgrade) Sea Harriers of the Navy (two more are currently under upgrade by HAL). The Harrier was flying a mission in support of a Naval Veer-class guided missile corvette about 20 miles off the coast of Goa when it went down. Personnel on board the warship reported witnessing the aircraft impact the water. The crash did not happen during an exercise as has been reported by some agencies. It was very much an operational mission involving support of a corvette from a Mumbai squadron.

The depth of the sea at the point of impact is only about 40-meters, and therefore the Navy is hoping to rapidly complete a salvage operation. Some parts have already been salvaged. Investigations into the crash, like all previous inquiries involving the Sea Harrier, will be deeply difficult since the aircraft does not have a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) or even an accident-oriented Cockpit Voice Recorder (except for training purposes, with manual override available to the pilot). Lt Cdr Saxena is noted to have been a highly professional pilot, with a good deal of experience in fleet support missions.

Incidentally, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta was in Goa on a farewell visit at the time of the crash.

RIP Lt Cdr SC Saxena.

25 comments :

Anonymous said...

Very Sad. God rest his soul.

One less bird for the almost negligible fleet of IN Harriers.

Anonymous said...

Pilot could not eject in time, even though flying at low altitude.
Tragic event indeed!we lost another pilot! RIP!

Gagan said...

Oh god.
This is so painful. A young life lost. May god give peace to his soul. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family members, they must be devastated.

Very very sad.

Anonymous said...

Why is the carrier being operated near our coast in the first place? Are we afraid of sending it out a few hundred nautical miles into ocean?

Poor pilot, paid the price of MoD corruption and incompetence.

Anonymous said...

rip..........his soul should not leave the babu

Anonymous said...

Tragic & Sad. RIP. I suspect in India the high fatality rate of pilots is partly due to the perceived fear/frustration towards the post-accident investigation process which has in the past discriminated against pilot.

Overzealous babus, seniors have often been known to blame the pilot even though most of the time crashes were due to poor quality of spare parts, improper equipment etc. Consequently pilots often loose precious time trying to recover their aircraft even though it might be a lost case.

Anonymous said...

RIP.. I think India leads in fighter plane crashes !! we need mrca soon. & good trainer. no more russian junk please

AK said...

It was upgraded by HAL. Hmm that sure does sound reassuring. On a hope and a wing. RIP brave soldier.

Anonymous said...

anon@7:48PM, Sea Harrier is not an russian aircraft; it is from UK.

Anonymous said...

how many more??

Kartik said...

to all the guys who're cribbing about HAL having upgrade the SHar, don't jump the gun. the Court of Inquiry is still not out, so we don't know what caused the crash.

Also, please take a look at the safety record of the Sea Harrier in the UK Royal Navy's service. its dismal. the aircraft type was and is very prone to accidents, which is not helped by its STOVL capability.

Shiv, would you be able to get a picture of an upgraded Sea Harrier ? there is none available as yet, with the Derby on it.

Vincent said...

Rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

how many more??

No one knows. Until the present fake "democratic" setup is destroyed and a revolution in governance is introduced, our officers and soliders will contniue to die for other's mistakes.

Anonymous said...

RIP lt Cdr Saxena...it is extremely frustrating to see our pilots loose their life's to accidents.

How many sea harriers are left now?

AK said...

This is India's idea of phasing out planes! Along with them go the pilots.

Anonymous said...

A final salute to Lt Cdr Saurabh Saxena - a very promising officer and a gentleman.Its a tragic loss for the Navy and the country.He was an impressive senior at NDA -passed out as Battalion Cadet Adjutant I guess.May his soul rest in peace.

Sudhir Sharma said...

After the 'upgradation' of MiG 21s and Sea Harriers the next stupidity in progress is the 'upgradation' of Jaguars. The British and French phased the Jaguars out in their countries in 2007. With Rolls Royce Engines now being fitted I wonder why this bright idea was not implemented in Britain or France which makes both the engine and the aircraft. I hear that an abomination awaits the AN32s also.
The one and only upgradation that we need very urgently is in our ability to learn from our past. We don't need patchwork aircrafts. We need genuine high performance machines which can deliver with total reliability. Not an assurance we get in a flea market.

Anonymous said...

sudhir,

what u say makes sense...but india does not have a mammoth defence budget...and can't afford to 'replace' all its old planes...hence the need to upgrade....its not the best solution...but necessary since new planes cost a lot more....think about it

Vincent said...

Upgrading of Harriers, Jaguars and Mig-23s are the dumbest things to do ever. With their manufacturers no longer making new parts, the cost of maintaining these limited edition MILFs will be horrendous and far exceed the cost of buying new planes - the F-18 E/F/G.

1 F-18E can do the tasks of 3 or more older planes. You don't need a trillion dollar budget to be vaguely good at numbers.

Anonymous said...

Saxena was not only professionally brilliant but had an impeccable attitude of a fighter pilot. I saw him and directed him personnaly during various bombing missions from the carrier.......A huge loss to the service and the nation......My heartiest tributes to you buddy and deepest condolences to the bereaved family......RIP

Anonymous said...

there he goes again..vincent the F-18 salesman....

btw, 1 Vincent (the toddler) can do the tasks of 3 or more older Salesman. You don't need a brain (which Vincent clearly lacks) to be vaguely good at numbers.

Anonymous said...

there he goes again..vincent the F-18 salesman....

btw, 1 Vincent (the toddler) can do the tasks of 3 or more older Salesman. You don't need a brain (which Vincent clearly lacks) to be vaguely good at numbers.

Abhashri said...

Hi All,

I am Lt. Cdr. Saxena's sister. Ours was never a regular brother-sister relationship to me, he was more of a father, mentor, brother, and for a large part of life even a mother, to me. Even though our personal loss is unbearable and absolutely soul-shattering, I appreciate the concern and prayers received here. I have little to say on the competency of the aircrafts since all that matters to me is that my brother was extremely passionate and proud about his flying skills and the sea harrier.
My heart bleeds as I write this, but our species is programmed to compulsively console ourselves with philosophy of the likes of 'he died living his passion'..
Well, he lives on for me. Alive in my being.

Prayers,
Abha

Meenakshi said...

Hi Abha,

I knew Saurav at Goa! What a charming and gracious officer.

I was amazed at your focused devotion at Lt Cdr Saurav Saxena's funeral. As the rains lashed down, the skies wept and You performed the last rites in the true spirit of a soldier's sister, daughter and more.

You are right.Saurav loved what he did and clearly his family was his support. We feel for all you ladies and are so proud of women like you, your mom, riti and little gauri. Take care. Pl keep in touch on meenakshi.resurge@gmail.com

SIDHARTH said...

one more brave son is dead...but that has ignited more courage in me to join the IAF and die a passionate death in spite of dying an ordinary numb death...may his soul give me enough strength to keep this fire ignited in me till my life ends