NEW DELHI: The black box of the C-130J transport aircraft that crashed near Gwalior on Friday has suffered damage and the Indian Air Force (IAF) has sent it to the U.S. to seek the assistance of its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin in decoding the data, officials said.
"To avoid any loss of data while trying to decode the equipment, we have decided to send the black box to the U.S.," an IAF spokesperson said. The black box was sent by an early morning flight to Lockheed Martin, he said.
The delay in decoding the black box data would also mean a delay in determining the cause of the crash, he said.
The IAF had stated that it would come out with a preliminary report on the reasons behind the mishap within 24 hours.
The IAF spokesperson also denied reports suggesting that the C-130J fleet had been grounded following the crash, saying the aircraft did not fly as the personnel of the squadron were busy in the last rites of the five victims of the crash.
The Super Hercules Special Operations transport aircraft crashed near Gwalior killing five crew members after taking off from Agra.
The aircraft had apparently hit a hillock before crashing on the rocky surface on the banks of Chambal river near Gwalior.
India had recently inducted six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were bought from the U.S. at a cost of around 5,780 crore (USD 962 million) four years ago.
The home base of the 77 squadron 'Veiled Vipers' operating the aircraft is at Hindon in Ghaziabad near New Delhi.
The aircraft were recently landed on the Daulat Beg Oldie air field near the Indo-China border and have helped in boosting the IAF's capability to airlift troops closer to the border in times of emergency.
On the demands of the IAF, the Defence Ministry recently placed orders for six more such aircraft from the US. The loss of such a big asset is considered a setback for the IAF.