External Fuel Tank falls from Navy’s MiG-29 fighter jet during take-off,Might be the Cause of Fire on INS Dega

In an incident involving Indian Navy’s supersonic fighter jet MiG-29K,an empty external fuel tank fell from a flying Mikoyan MiG 29K Navy aircraft on Monday at CISF quarters in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.The Naval Mig-29Kwas taking off from the naval air station INS Dega in Visakhapatnam on Monday morning.

“A minor fire broke out on the runway of INS Dega when a Fuel Drop Tank of a MiG-29K jettisoned accidentally while the MiG was taking off on a routine training sortie. Prompt action by ground support staff resulted in the quick dousing of the fire. No one has been injured and no damage has been sustained to the aircraft or the runway,” said a senior official of the Indian Navy.

The Indian Navy has ordered a probe into the incident.

Before landing, the crew dropped another fuel tank, which was empty. The empty fuel tank dropped in Malkapuram area in the city near the naval base.  “Each MiG has two fuel tanks, one on each wing. Before landing, the aircraft has to have equal weight on both wings. Therefore, the aircraft dropped the empty fuel tank so that landing is safe,” said an official of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC).

The Navy has been creating the required infrastructure to house a MiG-29K squadron at INS Dega on the eastern seaboard at Vizag.

A recent report by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which was tabled in the Parliament last month pointed out that MiG-29K faces operational deficiencies due to defects in engines, airframe, and fly-by-wire system.

The naval airfield station, INS Dega at Vizag, will house the Indian Navy’s second squadron of supersonic fighter jets MiG-29K.

The MiG-29K aircraft has a maximum speed over twice that of sound, at about 2000 kmph.

The MiG-29K squadron at Vizag is expected to be commissioned within two years from now.

The Indian Navy’s first MiG 29K squadron christened, ‘Black Panthers’ is now stationed at Goa. The Black Panthers squadron was commissioned in 2013.

The Indian Navy started inducting MiG 29Ks from 2009. As of now, the Navy has around 33 MiGs and 12 more will be inducted in the coming years.

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