Air Marshal Punches Out Of Doomed Mirage

He's the seniormost Indian Air Force officer ever to eject. Air Marshal Anil Chopra, currently Air Officer in charge of Personnel (AOP) at IAF HQ punched out of a Dassault Mirage 2000TH operational trainer over Central India just after noon. Air Marshal Chopra, Commodore Commandant of 1 Squadron Tigers was in Gwalior for a reunion of the elite Mirage unit and a tour of the base. A passionate fighter pilot, Air Marshal Chopra doesn't get to fly as often as he'd like. and is one of only a few senior officers who still flies when he gets a chance.

On Friday, he flew front cockpit with Tigers squadron commander Wing Commander Ram Kumar. Over Bhind, an area replete with ravines, the aircraft's Snecma M53 flamed out. After a series of relight attempts failed, the pilots initiated ejection procedures and bailed out. They were picked up by a SAR helicopter shortly thereafter and transferred to the military hospital in Gwalior. Both are safe and in good health.

Air Marshal Chopra has commanded the Tigers squadron and was part of the crew that ferried the first Mirages to India from France in the mid-1980s. He was posted in Russia during the MiG-21 upgrade programme and has commanded the Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in Bangalore. Before picking up the three-star rank, he was Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Jammu & Kashmir at Udhampur, overseeing military air ops in that theater.

Photo / Sanjay Simha on BR

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