New Delhi: The crash of an upgraded version of the Mirage 2000 fighter jet, in which two of the nation's most talented test pilots lost their lives, has left netizens fuming.

The Mirage 2000 was originally built by the French aerospace major Dassault Aviation and was upgraded by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). When the ill-fated incident took place on Friday, the aircraft was being flight-tested by the pilots before consent could have been given for its operational use.

Twitter outrage

Following the crash, the defence public sector undertaking HAL came under fire on Twitter.

Who were the pilots

Squadron Leaders Samir Abrol and Siddhartha Negi succumbed to their injuries after the aircraft crashed near the military airport in Bengaluru. It was on an acceptance sortie following its upgrade by the HAL. Abrol from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, and Negi from Dehradun, Uttarakhand, were commissioned into the Indian Air Force (IAF) a decade ago and were on deputation as test pilots at the IAF's Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE).

A look at Squadron Leader Abrol’s Facebook profile reflects his love for flying. In 2013, he wrote: “When the airplane makes a sudden noise, you think to yourself ‘Well, I lived a good life!’”

According to reports, Negi, who was nicknamed ‘Golden Boy’ in the Air Force, died on his birthday on Friday. He was one of the youngest test pilots our country had. He was in National Defence Academy (NDA) from 2005 to 2008. In June 2009, he was commissioned into the IAF. Negi was married to Dhruvika two years ago. She is also an officer in the IAF and posted in Bangalore.

HAL’s version

HAL regretted the Mirage 2000 fighter jet crash. 

“HAL expresses condolences to the grief-stricken families of the two pilots. The company has initiated an inquiry into the accident in coordination with the IAF,” the company said.