DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A United Arab Emirates military aircraft crashed Sunday, killing a pilot and an instructor. The fatal event is the UAE military's twelfth crash in six years.
The General Command of the UAE's armed forces said the plane went down during a training flight over the country.
"The accident resulted in the death of the crew consisting of a pilot and instructor and authorities are conducting investigations to determine the cause of the accident," a statement issued by state news agency Wam said.
No further details on the type of aircraft have been released.
The pilot, 32-year-old Air Force Capt. Nawwaf Abdullah Salim Al-Nuaimi, joined the UAE military in 2001 and the Air Force in 2004.
According to a former contractor with the armed forces' General Headquarters (GHQ), the UAE military two years ago made a conscious effort to develop their standard of health and safety by sending officers to acquire internationally recognized certifications to implement standards and training for crew and pilots, and to develop an indigenous health and safety culture.
Since 2010, 12 military and Air Force pilots and crew have been killed in either training missions or accidents, according to public statements released by GHQ.
Another two were killed during combat operations in Yemen in March this year.
According to the former contractor, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, a lack of safety culture still exists within the ranks of the military.
"There is a reliance on purchases from original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and the perception is that it's always the OEM's fault," the contractor said.
Public records show that since 2011, three Dassault Mirage 2000-9s have been lost.
One in combat in March, one during a training mission in 2011 and the third in 2012 due to a crew member accident.
Another fighter jet was lost in April 2011 in Italy during a base transfer operation. An Air Force F-16 Block 60 crash-landed and was destroyed. However the pilot saved himself when he ejected.