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Three IAF officers punished for aerostat accident'
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 9/9/2011 12:00:00 AM

New Delhi : Three Indian Air Force (IAF) officers had to face disciplinary action after a Rs.338-crore aerostat radar suffered a major accident, requiring repairs that cost Rs.302 crore, the government's auditor has found.

A report from the Comptroller and Auditor General, tabled in parliament Thursday, said the aerostat balloon, bought in March 2002 as part of a Rs.676 crore 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 Rs.338 crore.

"The repair of the damaged system is estimated to cost Rs.302 crore," 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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Three IAF officers punished for aerostat accident'

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