Indian Army Pilots Die To Avoid Civilian Casualties

Two Indian Army aviation corps pilots Major Atul Garje, a qualified flying instructor, and Major P Bhanu Chandar died yesterday when the Cheetah/Alouette II helicopter they were flying crashed in Western India. According to prima facie evidence, the helicopter came down following critical rotor failure. The two officers manoeuvered their chopper away from an area where they could eyeball civilians on the ground, crashing finally into a house whose occupants were away. Nobody was killed or hurt on the ground. Both pilots died in the crash. R.I.P.

The crash once again brings into focus the unconscionable delays in the Indian Army's light helicopter competition, an effort that seeks to replace several vintage Cheetahs and Chetak/Alouette IIIs currently in service, with a European or Russian platform.

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