Budgam helicopter crash |IAF transfers commanding officer of Srinagar base

The Indian Air Force has transferred the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of the Srinagar base in the midst of a court of inquiry probing the crash of Mi-17 helicopter in Kashmir during a standoff with Pakistan on 27 February, PTI quoting sources reported on Tuesday.

 It said the senior-most official of the strategic base was removed to ensure impartial probe into the crash.

The helicopter crashed in Budgam on 27 February this year when Indian and Pakistani fighter jets were engaged in a fierce aerial combat, a day after IAF jets carried out aerial strikes in Balakot, Pakistan.   

Sources said the CoI was also probing whether the helicopter crashed after being accidentally hit by the IAF’s air defence system, which was on highest alert following the Balakot strikes.

There have been reports that the helicopter was hit by IAF’s own air defence system. However, the IAF is yet to make any official comment on the issue.

The sources said the CoI was specifically probing whether a surface-to-air missile of IAF hit the chopper and whether the Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) system on board the helicopter was switched off. The IFF helps air defence radars to identify whether an aircraft or helicopter is friendly or hostile.