Three IAF officers sacked for missile misfire
A court of inquiry conducted by the Indian Air Force has found violation of the standard operating procedure behind the accidental firing of a missile from India into Pakistan and terminated the services of three officers with immediate effect.
The three officers include a Group Captain, a Wing Commander and a Squadron Leader, sources in the IAF said.
“A Court of Inquiry (Col), set up to establish the facts of the case, including fixing responsibility for the incident, found that deviation from the standard operating procedures (SOP) by three officers led to the accidental firing of the missile,” the IAF said in a statement on Tuesday.
“These three officers have primarily been held responsible for the incident. Their services have been terminated by the central government with immediate effect. Termination orders have been served upon the officers on August 23.”
A BrahMos supersonic cruise missile without a warhead was fired on March 9 and landed at a place called Mian Channu in Pakistan.
No injury was reported.
Several Indian military veterans had described it as a serious breach of launch discipline and protocol, and maintained that the firing showed the existing command and control system in a poor light.
Islamabad had slammed the “unprovoked violation” of its airspace by a supersonic flying object of Indian origin, asked New Delhi to explain “if the missile was indeed handled by its armed forces or some rogue elements”, and sought a joint India-Pakistan probe.
In a statement in Parliament on March 15, defence minister Rajnath Singh had regretted the incident and said a missile was accidentally released during routine maintenance and inspection at around 7pm. He said the government had taken serious note of the incident and a formal high-level inquiry had been ordered to determine the exact cause.
Sources in the IAF said a review of the standard operating procedures for operations, maintenance and inspections was conducted in the wake of the incident and the shortcomings were rectified.