1 minute readThree IAF officers punished for aerostat accident

New Delhi: Three Indian Air Force (IAF) officers had to face disciplinary action after a INR 33.8-billion aerostat radar suffered a major accident, requiring repairs that cost INR 30.2 billion, the government’s auditor has found.

A report from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), tabled in parliament Thursday, said the aerostat balloon, bought in March 2002 as part of a INR 67.6 billion deal for two such radars from Israel, was “damaged substantially”, as there were inadequate personnel to monitor its deployment.

The IAF had ordered a court of inquiry after the accident in May 2009, which held the three officers responsible for the failure to adequately supervise the radar’s maintenance operations, called ‘snubbing’ in air force parlance.

“Based on these findings, all the three officers were awarded severe displeasure for six months. The officers, thus, failed to carry out their responsibilities, which led to the accident of the aerostat costing INR 3.38 billion.

“The repair of the damaged system is estimated to cost INR 30.2 billion,” the report said.

The aerostat vendor had assured a 10-year life for the radar system. The recovery of the damaged radar, which has a capacity to be deployed at 15,000-feet altitude, is an 18-month operation.

The aerial early warning radar is capable of detecting low-flying fighter aircraft up to 250 km away and is efficient in signal intelligence gathering.

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