On 8th December 2021 an Indian Air Force Mi-17V5 helicopter was flying over Tamil Nadu. Indian senior army officers including CDS General Bipin Rawat were on board. There are many speculations related to the crash but, in this article, we will break down the crash events to find possible reason/reasons of the crash.
Mi-17V5 is latest variant of Mi-17 used by Indian armed forces. This variant of Mi-17 is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics for situational awareness and few of them are specially designed for VIP transportation thus they are used by senior armed forces officers.
Weather over Tamil Nadu on 8th of December 2021 was forecasted as heavy rainfall. According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the northeast monsoon rainfall was expected between 8th-10th December 2021 and Tamil Nadu was expected to observe worst weather with isolated heavy rainfall during this 48-hour period. Thus, weather was not safe for flying under these circumstances.
Mi-17 was seen flying close to ground as per the video captured by locals’ moments before the crash. In video we can also observe helicopter disappearing into fog/clouds at very low altitude. This negligence cannot be ignored since they already knew about bad weather and poor visibility. After disappearing in clouds, we can hear a loud bang and sound of helicopter disappears indicating crash. According to video helicopter’s engine wasn’t flamed out neither the helicopter was in flames.
In case helicopter was engulfed in flames that would have represented helicopter was attacked by small firearms, heavy machine gun or MANPAD. As this was not the case hence, we can ignore this reason that helicopter was attacked by insurgents. We have seen multiple videos on social media and few shared by Indian media in which helicopter was engulfed in flames before crashing those videos are fake and are from Syrian conflict.
In case engine flameout, helicopter would have been falling vertically & certainly wouldn’t be travelling forward at high speed. One point to mention here is in case of engine flameout pilot would have adopted special techniques to land helicopter which would have significantly reduced the impact. The area where Mi-17 crashed was a densely forested area. Tress would have helped to reduced impact as well and airframe would have suffered damage but would not have collapsed. We have seen many helicopters crash videos on landings in case of engine failure, airframe suffered damages, but it never collapses. In this case whole airframe collapsed which indicated high speed direct impact.
After viewing all aspects of crash, we can confirm there was no engine failure nor helicopter was attacked by insurgents. Helicopter was flying low and at very high speed in poor visibility. Helicopter impacted a mountain and nose was the first part of helicopter to touch the ground. Thus, whole airframe collapsed from momentum gained through speed.
From available images/videos we can clearly see airframe has collapsed completely. Impact was so intense that people onboard died on spot and rest was done by fire which engulfed whole wreckage making bodies unidentifiable. We can confirm nose collision at high speed due to fact that whole wreckage is found at one place, none of the part fell far from the wreckage.
We conclude this article with strong indication of inside job because avionics available on Mi-17V5 provide very good situational awareness. Air Traffic Controllers are always monitoring aircrafts in the area and provide warning in case of any danger. Helicopter flying low with high speed in bad weather with senior military leadership onboard can never be allowed to fly in such bad weather conditions. Pilot must have ignored all warning from ATC and from avionics of helicopter which resulted in the crash. one can describe it criminal negligence, but this is clearly an inside job.
Note: Keep in the mind the differences of CDS General Bipin Rawat with Indian Air Force, Indian Navy & even with Indian Army Chief. He declared Indian Air Force an ‘Air Regiment/supporting arm’ of Indian Army. CDS General Bipin Rawat halted/stopped many upgradations plans of Indian Navy as well.