Defence

25 yrs ago, an IAF Mi-17 was shot down while Army, Navy chiefs were touring Siachen

By The Print

Military aviation is an adrenaline booster in more ways than one, with some instances not being of the pleasant kind. We had the unfortunate crash of Army Aviation’s Rudra ALH helicopter in the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake on 3 August, with the mortal remains of the co-pilot still to be retrieved.

It’s indeed an agonising wait for the next of kin, as it is for his comrades, but the show needs to go on. One can rest assured that the Indian Army, especially the Commanding Officer (CO), would be leaving no stone unturned to bring closure to this unfortunate accident. And, when losses happen due to enemy action, an added responsibility devolves on the ‘old man’ – the CO.

It reminds me of an incident that took place 25 years ago.

The three Chiefs – Army, Navy and Air Force – decided to fly over the Northern Glacier in Siachen together on 26 August 1996. I was commanding 114 Helicopter Unit, the Siachen Pioneers, and we were to fly the Air and Naval Chiefs while the Army Aviation squadron was given the task for the Army Chief.

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