An newly-acquired Indian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules transport plane has crashed near Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh today, killing all five Air Force personnel on board.
The military transport aircraft, configured for special operations and airborne assault, had taken off from Agra on a routine mission, Air Force sources said.
The Super Hercules, India's biggest military transport aircraft, crashed 72 km west of Gwalior, IAF sources said, adding that a court of inquiry has been ordered into the crash.
"One C-130J aircraft crashed 72 miles (115 km) west of Gwalior air base. The aircraft was airborne from Agra at 1000 hours for a routine flying training mission. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the cause of the accident," an IAF spokesperson said in Gwalior.
India has acquired six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the US at around Rs6,000 crore ($1.1 billion) each some four years ago.
The plane is considered to be the safest aircraft and has capabilities of landing and taking off even in improvised or short airfields, and without lights.
India had recently deployed a C-130J Super Hercules in the search ooperations for the missing Malaysian Airlines jetliner in the South Indian Ocean region.
The Indian Air Force had also recently landed the Super Herculus on the high-altitude Daulat Beg Oldie airfield near China border, proving the aircraft's capabilities and usefulness in times of emergency.
The acquisition of assets such as the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft and Mi-17 V5 helicopters had given "unprecedented response" capabilities to IAF, according to former Air Chief NAK Browne.
"The streamlined induction and speedy operationalisation of our new assets like Mi-17 V5, C-130J, Pilatus PC-7 and C-17 aircraft have afforded us unprecedented response capabilities," he said in his last remarks as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the IAF Chief.
The Super Hercules has been used extensively by the USAF and USMC in Iraq and Afghanistan. Canada has also deployed its CC-130J aircraft to Afghanistan.
However, in January 2013, it was reported that some of Canada's C-130J transports have counterfeit Chinese microchips in their cockpit displays. These parts are more likely to fail and cause such results as blank instrument screens during flight.