- Fuel tank dropped while the air force jet was flying a routine "sortie"
- The plane, a Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, landed safely
- Fire was reported from where the tank fell, causing a 3-foot deep crater
An Air Force jet dropped its 1,200-litre external fuel tank over farm land near Coimbatore while flying a routine "sortie" at around 8.40 am today morning. The plane, a Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), managed to land safely at Sulur Air Force Station, which is located approximately 30 kilometres from Coimbatore city.
"We don't know how it happened and if there was fuel in the drop tank. The flight has landed safely. Investigation is on," an Air Force officer told NDTV. The Air Force has said no damage had been reported.
Fire was reported from where the fuel tank fell to the ground, causing a three-foot deep crater.
Tejas is the first advanced fly-by-wire fighter aircraft designed, developed and made in India. Manufactured by Bengaluru-headquartered Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), it is equipped with a satellite-aided Inertial Navigation System.
The aircraft has a digital computer-based attack system and autopilot mode. It can fire Air-to-Air Missiles and Precision Guided ammunition.
In a similar incident last week, an IAF Jaguar was forced to jettison fuel tanks and small-sized practice bombs over part of a residential neighbourhood in Ambala in Haryana, after it was hit mid-flight by a bird.
News agency ANI, quoting IAF sources, said only one engine was hit and the pilot managed to land the plane safely at the Air Force base in the city. There were no reports of any casualties.
In January, a Jaguar, which is a deep penetration strike aircraft imported from Europe in the 1970s, crashed in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, after developing technical problems during a routine mission from Gorakhpur. The pilot, Wing Commander Rohit Katoch managed to eject safely from the plane.
With inputs from PTI