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India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, that recently celebrated its milestone of completing 10,000 accident-free sorties over the last 23 years, today encountered a significant setback with its first crash. The aircraft, believed to be in the Final Operational Configuration (FOC), belonging to the Second LCA-Tejas Squadron, No. 18 Flying Bullets, met with an accident during an operational training sortie in Jaisalmer.

The incident, which unfolded at Jaisalmer, saw the pilot ejecting safely from the aircraft. However, the crash marks a poignant moment for the LCA-Tejas program, which has prided itself on maintaining an impeccable safety record over the years.

A Court of Inquiry (CoI) has been promptly constituted to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and determine its root cause. Initial observations from footage of the incident suggest that the aircraft had its landing gears deployed, indicating that the mishap may have occurred during takeoff or while attempting an emergency landing.

The absence of visible smoke in the footage raises and roar of the engine questions about the possible causes of the accident. It hints at scenarios where either the aircraft experienced unresponsive controls, prompting the pilot to initiate ejection as a safety measure or they was electrical failure. Another scenario could be that their was an engine flame out and the aircraft losing power and couldn’t make it back to the base.