IAF Jaguar suffers bird hit, pilot’s action saves aircraft and lives

An Indian Air Force (IAF) 14th Squadron SEPECAT (Breguet/BAC) Jaguar GR-1 “Shamser” (Sword of Justice) ground attack aircraft prepares to receive fuel from a IAF 78th Squadron Ilyushin IL-78 Midas aerial refueling aircraft, flying out of Eielson FB, Alaska (AK), as they participate in an aerial refueling mission during Exercise COOPERATIVE COPE THUNDER, the largest multinational air combat training exercise in the Pacific. This 15-day exercise simulates wartime combat conditions so that military personnel from 12-nations can sharpen their air fighting skills, exchange air operational tactics, and build closer relations with each other.


An Indian Air Force (IAF) SEPECAT Jaguar or “Shamsher” was involved in a bird strike incident on takeoff from Ambala Air Force Station outside the Indian town of Ambala on Thursday, June 27, 2019. Video of the accident posted in Indian media and on Twitter showed the aircraft fly through a group of birds, emit flame from at least one engine, and then jettison its underwing stores. Some of the stores carried by the Jaguar were reported to be “Carrier Bomb Light Stores” pods (CBLS) that exploded on impact.

The aircraft was from the IAF No. 14 Squadron, known as the “Bulls”. The unit operates both the Jaguar IS and IB versions. It was not reported which version was involved in the bird strike incident.

The Indian Air Force praised the pilot on Twitter, reporting that, “Despite most serious emergencies staring in his face, the young pilot assessed the situation in seconds, jettisoned two additional fuel drop tanks & CBLS Pods as per standard operating procedure & safely landed the aircraft.”

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Immediately after the bird strike the pilot could be seen jettisoning his external stores to lighten the aircraft. (Photo: via YouTube)

Subsequent tweets went on to say, “His actions bear testimony to the highest professional standards of the IAF resulting from extensive operational training. The professionalism and quick thinking by the pilot not only saved a war waging asset but also the lives of many civilians in the area adjoining the field.”

The SEPECAT Jaguar is twin engine, jet-powered attack aircraft that first flew in 1968. It is a joint venture of France and the UK. The aircraft has been retired from both RAF and French service, but remains in service with India. It has seen extensive combat use in conflicts around the world with many users since its introduction.

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File photo of Indian Air Force SEPECAT Jaguar taken by USAF photographer. (Photo: SSGT Mathew Hannen, USAF)

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