The Indian Air Force investigation into the mysterious crash of its C-130J Super Hercules special operations plane on March 28 near Gwalior is headed to the US.
The black box and the cockpit voice recorder of the aircraft is being flown to a Lockheed Martin facility in the US to decrypt the data that could help the IAF piece together what happened. The Super Hercules is a Lockheed Martin product.
An IAF source told HT on Sunday that the data was likely to be recovered in two to three days, possibly ending the search for answers to the disaster. Black boxes and cockpit voice recorders are crash-survivable units in a plane.
The IAF currently does not have the means to recover data from the C-130J black box or the flight data recorder. The black box and the cockpit voice recorder were damaged in the crash.
Five crew members were killed when the plane went down 72 miles west of Gwalior along the Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan border, jolting the world's fourth-largest air force and exposing cracks in its safety standards.
The four-engine aircraft, known to be one of the safest combat planes in the world, crashed barely an hour after it took off from the Agra airbase on a training mission at 10 am on Friday.
The shocker came barely three years after the IAF inducted the first of its six C-130J planes, configured for special operations and airborne assault. India had signed a $962 million contract with the US in 2008 for buying six C-130J planes. The IAF is acquiring six more C-130Js, operated by 16 international air forces.
Wing Commander Prashant Joshi (captain), Wing Commander Raji Nair (co-pilot), Squadron Leader Kaushik Mishra (additional pilot), Squadron Leader Ashish Yadav (navigator) and Warrant Officer KP Singh (systems operator) were killed in the crash.