Bengaluru (Agencies): A Mirage 2000 was scrambled on Tuesday, as the Joint Control and Analysis Centre (JCAC) went into high alert as a commercial aircraft flying to the national capital lost control with air traffic control.
Fearing a hijack situation as the aircraft lost communication with Air Traffic Control at Palam, the Mirage jet was deployed to track the aircraft according to a senior Indian Air Force officer quoted in Hindustan Times.
The aircraft was found flying towards the no-fly zone areas surrounding the VVIP areas of Delhi which include Rastrapati Bhavan and 7 RCR, the Prime Minister’s residence.
According to reports in Hindustan Times, The JCAC, which monitors all aircraft movement in this sector, alerted the Gwalior air base about the suspicious Delhi-bound plane at 4.38 pm and by 4.41 pm, the air force had scrambled a Mirage 2000 fighter to intercept the plane.
A radio failure was reported to have caused the radio silence from the aircraft which was identified as a Alliance Air flight by Delhi ATC. Following the identification the Mirage returned to Gwalior and the commercial jet carried on the Delhi.
Following the hijack of IC-814 in 1999 and the 9/11 attacks in 2001 the government tightened it’s anti-hijack policy which allows for commercial aircraft to be shot down in case of a hijack situation, to avoid them being used as missiles.