Officials privy to the incident said that the HAL Rudra was on an acceptance sortie

NEW DELHI: A Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) built Rudra helicopter which was on an ‘acceptance flight’ made a ‘precautionary landing’ near Bangalore on Tuesday evening, officials said.

The helicopter, which is a weaponised version of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), has been built for the Army Aviation wing. The incident comes only a few days after a Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft- upgraded by the HAL- crashed at the HAL airport in Bangalore last week, killing both pilots on board.

Officials privy to the incident said that the HAL Rudra was on an acceptance sortie. “It had to make a precautionary landing at about 30 km off Bangalore, after the helicopter faced certain issues,” said officials.

HAL has come under a cloud and its abilities questioned after the upgraded twin-seater Mirage 2000 crashed a few seconds after its take-off. The two IAF pilots, 33-year-old Squadron Leader Samir Abrol and 31-year-old Squadron Leader Siddhartha Negi, were killed even though they had ejected. An IAF statement said that the pilots had sustained fatal injuries, adding that a court of inquiry has been ordered to probe the cause of the incident.

The two officers were serving with the IAF’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE). They were test pilots who were flying acceptance sorties before handing over the aircraft to one of IAF’s Mirage 2000 squadrons.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday visited Negi’s family in Dehradun. The defence ministry spokesperson posted a tweet that read, “@DefenceMinIndia visits parents & family of Sqn Ldr Siddhartha Negi in Dehradun to pay respects to the fallen Air Warrior. Married to Sqn Ldr Dhruvika Raj, and son to a police officer, the test pilot laid his life in the line of duty.”

Meanwhile, BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar was to raise a request in Parliament on Tuesday for a “thorough” and “transparent” inquiry into the fighter aircraft crash. “I was to raise a Zero Hour Mention tdy on the HAL #IAF Aircraft crash n need 4 transparent & thorough probe. Unfortunately, it couldn't be taken up due to TMC's disruption in Parliament. Hopefully will take it up tmrw,” he posted on social media site, Twitter.