In a major setback to the Air Force, a newly acquired US-made C-130J transport aircraft on Friday crashed near Gwalior after taking off from Agra air base, killing five crew members, including four officers.
Two Wing Commanders, two Squadron Leaders and another crew member were killed in the Super Hercules Special Operations plane crash, Defence PRO told PTI in Jaipur.
"One C-130J aircraft crashed 72 miles (115 km) west of Gwalior air base. The aircraft was airborne from Agra at 10:00 hours for a routine flying training mission. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the cause of the accident," an IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi.
Senior officials, including Superintendent of Police, Karauli, have rushed to the spot of the crash along Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh border.
India had recently inducted six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were bought from the US at the cost of around Rs 6000 crore (USD 1.1 billion) three years ago. The per unit cost of the aircraft comes to around Rs 1,000 crore. The home base of the 77 squadron 'Veiled Vipers' operating the aircraft is Hindon in Ghaziabad near here. The aircraft can carry upto 20 tonnes of load and can land and take-off from short runways.