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Mi-17 chopper drowning: IAF officer shifted

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New Delhi, May 22: An officer of the Indian Air Force has removed one of its officers for the circumstances that led to the crash of an Mi-17 helicopter near Srinagar on February 27 after it came under friendly fire. A court of inquiry is continuing with its investigation into the matter.

The IAF removed the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) and he is likely to face a criminal case. On February 27, as India and Pakistani jets were engaged in a dogfight at the Nowshera sector, a Russian made Mi-17 chopper of the IAF crashed and all six airmen on board were killed. The chopper it has been learnt was drowned by a surface to air missile of the IAF, which mistook the chopper to be hostile, an inquiry has revealed.

Fire fighters douse the flames at the site where an MI-17 chopper of the IAF crashed

The decision to remove the AOC was taken as the incident took place on his watch. The inquiry is nearing completion and the IAF is still contemplating whether or not it should slap criminal charges against those found to be lacking.

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Every IAF aircraft is fired with the identification of the Friend or Foe system which allows the ground control to differentiate between an enemy and friendly aircraft. It appears as though the Friend or Foe system was switched off and in the absence of the same, the ill-fated chopper was considered as an enemy aircraft by the air defence apparatus.

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