ASTE, the testing wing of IAF, uses HAL's grounds near Old Airport Road, to test its aircraft regularly.

Bengaluru Metro Pillars picture from MG road
news Bengaluru Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 18:56

Residents in several parts of Bengaluru heard a loud ‘boom’ sound around 1.30 pm on Wednesday. While some described it as a ‘thunderous noise’, others said they felt tremors, with their window panes rattling for as long as five seconds.

The sound was heard as far as Cooke Town, Vivek Nagar, Ramamurthy Nagar, Hosur Road, HAL, Old Madras Road, Ulsoor, Kundanahalli, Kammanahalli, CV Raman Nagar, Whitefield and HSR Layout in the city. Several social media users stated that they could feel vibrations for about five minutes.

A top police official told TNM that it could be a Sukhoi-30 jet that flew over Bengaluru skies.

The Indian Air Force -Training Command in a statement denied it was their training sortie. However, the Training Command confirmed that the flight could have been undertaken by the IAF's testing wing called the Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) or by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

"No aircraft of Training Command was flying in the area. However, ASTE and HAL could have been undertaking their routine test flying, which necessitates going supersonic at times. These are done well beyond the city limits in specified sectors. However, considering the atmospheric conditions and reduced noise levels in the city during these times, the aircraft sound may become clearly audible even if it happened way out from the city," the statement said.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) also denied and said that none of its flights were behind the noise. "It has nothing to do with HAL aircraft," an HAL spokesperson told TNM, when asked about the incident.

However, HAL sources hinted that a Sukhoi 30 belonging to the ASTE took off from HAL around the same time the booming sound was heard. The source said, "We have not issued anything official because the huge bursting sound cannot be attributed to this fighter with certainty though it took off around this time. It is too early to say whether it was due to the aircraft as it will be mere speculation."

ASTE, the testing wing of IAF, uses HAL's grounds near Old Airport Road, to test its aircraft regularly. Since IAF-Training Command and HAL has denied, word is awaited from IAF and ASTE.

Sukhoi-30MKI is a twin-jet, twin-seat aircraft developed by Russia and built under license by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The Su-30MKI has a top speed of Mach 2 or 2,120 kmph. It has a maximum take off weight of 38,800 kg and can carry radars, missiles, bombs and even rockets.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao had earlier told TNM that no damage was reported anywhere in the city and no calls have been made to 100. “We have asked the Air Force Control Room to check if this was a flight,” he said, adding that they are waiting for the Air Force to confirm.

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