An Indian Air Force’s (IAF) newly acquired C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft has crashed today near Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, killing at least five onboard personnel.
An unnamed IAF spokesperson said the aircraft took-off from Agra for a routine flying training mission and went down 72 miles west of Gwalior air base.
"A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the cause of the accident," the spokesperson added.
The IAF is yet to make an official announcement regarding the number of personnel aboard the aircraft, which was one of the six acquired under a $1.1bn foreign military sales (FMS) deal from the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin in 2011.
Unnamed IAF officials were quoted by Zee Media as saying that senior officers from the air headquarters have been dispatched to the crash site, where rescue operations are underway.
The crash is the latest setback for the IAF, which has been plagued for years by the crashes of its MiG-21 fighters.
Configured for special mission roles, the IAF’s C-130J airlifters are equipped with an infrared (IR) detection set that allows for precision low-level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions, and air-to-air refuelling capability.
IAF’s C-130J airliftersare being operated from Hindon Airbase, near Delhi.
India had also finalised a contract with Lockheed for delivery of additional six aircraft along with associated equipment to fulfil requirements in India’s north-east region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2013, as reported earlier by Flightglobal.
Fitted with a glass cockpit, digital avionics and a new propulsion system with a six-bladed propeller, the C-130J Super Hercules is widely used for airborne assault, search-and-rescue (SAR), scientific research support, weather reconnaissance and aerial refuelling, maritime patrol and aerial fire fighting missions by several air forces worldwide.
Image: An Indian Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Aero India 2013. Photo: courtesy of Pritishp333.