Air France passenger jet intercepted by Indian Air Force

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has said that an Air France passenger jet was intercepted by a fighter jet on Thursday, after failing to identify itself correctly.

A MiG-29 jet was scrambled to intercept the flight, an Airbus A340-300, which was bound for Bangkok after departing from Paris. The Air France plane had just entered Indian airspace from Pakistan. The pilot had apparently used the wrong Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) code, used to help radar determine whether or not an aircraft is "friendly".

Air France Airbus A340 in a 2005 file photo. Image: Hergi

The fighter was ordered to return to the ground after the jet's pilot gave the proper code.

"IAF radars picked up an aircraft today [Thursday] morning southeast of Amritsar in the northern sector. The aircraft, at a flight level of 37,000 feet, had entered Indian airspace on an established border entry point. However, the aircraft was not in communication and also its secondary radar response code (IFF) was not correct and the aircraft identified as 'Unknown'," IAF officials said.

The Indian government has increased security along the country's border with Pakistan, following the attacks in Mumbai last year which killed over 170 people.