In a very recent times, there is an increasing coverage over the soaring numbers of military accidents which has resulted in deaths of number of military officers and wastage of taxpayer’s money. Aviation accidents are on an all-time high even in countries like US with highest military budget while India registered 2021 as the bloodiest year for its military aviation, with 11 clashes resulting in death of 22, including the death of CDS General Bipin Rawat. In the 2020, US Congress found out that in the last 6 years mishaps in training flights, or routine missions has killed 198 servicemen and civilians and have destroyed 157 aircrafts, which has costed about $9.41 billion of taxpayer’s money, but since then there has been no stopping to the air accidents. On June 9, 2022, a Sikorsky MH-60S Seahawk helicopter crashed at Naval Airfield El Centro, California. The MH-60S helicopters are used by the US Navy for vertical replenishment, combat search and rescue, special warfare support, and airborne mine countermeasures, among other roles. The unfortunate crash of the chopper was reported just a day after the MV-22 Osprey went down over 40 miles from NAF El Centro, killing all five crew members.
However, such increasing number of military accidents have not just caused a destruction of property, officials and tax money but has also invited countries on a brink of war, as while the whole world was concentrated towards Ukraine, and Russian aggression, India witnessed a military mishap during one of its “routine maintenance and inspection” which accidently launched a BrahMos missile into the territory of Pakistan. According to the Pakistani Military Officials, it travelled 124km into Pakistan. It was a serious case in face of both countries being nuclear states, and fortunately Pakistan did not use this incident to launch a retaliatory action leading to escalation. However, considering the hostile relations, and opposite position backed by two different superpowers could have resulted in some dangerous implications.
Iran also came under scrutiny for its unintended actions that caused death of 176 innocent civilians, as during one of its military readiness moments, where it moments after carried a missile strike on two airbases housing US force in Iraq that took down Qasem Soleimani, launched another missile towards the Ukrainian passenger jet killing all on board. While there was initial denial of reports that one of its missiles had brought down the Ukrainian plane, but they quickly submitted to the pressure, agreeing to an “unforgivable mistake” and justifying it on the grounds of its apparent flying posture and altitude of an enemy target. Military accidents have also become a major tag line for intentional attacks as in the crash of Afghan military plane in Uzbekistan in August 2021, launched a number of conflicting reports from the Uzbekistan authority. It was the Russian state agency RIA Novosti which reported that it was the Uzbek Defence military and their air defence system that had downed the plane to avert the attempt to illegally enter Uzbekistan air space. Before the report Uzbekistan had issued a statement saying that an Afghan military plane had collided with the Uzbek plane that was scrambled to escort it to the airport.
These military accidents are not just out of some human error, but also of political vendetta, resulting in deaths of military officers who are trained to be fighting their enemies but succumb to human error or political rivalry.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Brief Bulletin.