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Pigeons pose threat to fighter jets at IAF’s future Rafale base

AMBALA: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is worried about the safety and security of its combat aircraft from the pigeons that are being bred around its frontline airbase here, which will be the home base for the Rafale combat aircraft.

“In recent times, there are some locals who are breeding pigeons in their houses. These are in close vicinity to the IAF airfield. These birds are posing a threat to our fighter jets,” said IAF sources.

A complaint has been registered by the IAF officials with the local administration as these pigeons have grown up in the vicinity of the air base. During the recent incident involving a Jaguar aircraft, it seemed that they didn`t fear the loud sound or the aircraft as one of them crashed straight into the engine of the plane.

The Rafale combat jets will start arriving at Ambala air base from May 2020 onwards and would be inducted into the 17 squadrons here. IAF sources said that taking the threat pigeons seriously, the force wants that around the airfield, no one should be allowed to breed pigeons as they pose a serious threat.

Last week, an IAF Jaguar pilot jettisoned fuel tanks of his aircraft after one of the engines of the fighter jet failed after being hit by a bird. However, the pilot managed to land the plane safely at Ambala airbase. Small practice bombs jettisoned by the aircraft have also been recovered.Officials in the IAF said that the Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft was en route to a training sortie when one of the engines got a bird hit.

“The pilot jettisoned his fuel tanks and external stores, which included around 10 kgs of practice bombs to gain height and managed to land safely,” the officials had stated. Lauding the presence of mind of the pilot, the Air Force also released a 48-second video of the birds hit and the pilot`s maneuver that saved the fighter jet and lives of many civilians living in the area near the airfield.

The young pilot had taken off from the Air Force station here on Thursday morning on a training mission at about 7.45 am.In the video, the fighter jet is seen flying into a flock of birds within seconds of take-off.

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