IAF Sukhoi crashes in Rajasthan, pilots safe (Lead)

November 30th, 2009 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

F-16 New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) In the second accident involving the frontline Sukhoi-30MKI of the Indian Air Force (IAF) this year, one of the Russian-origin combat jets crashed Monday near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, but both the pilots ejected in time, an official said.
The aircraft, which took off from Bareilly airbase, was participating in a fire power demonstration.

“The aircraft crashed during an ongoing exercise. Both the pilot and the co-pilot are safe,” an IAF official told IANS, requesting anonymity.

The official refused to divulge more information.

This was the second crash of the Sukhoi combat jet since its induction 12 years ago. In April, a Sukhoi had crashed in Rajasthan due to the failure of its sophisticated fly-by-wire system. The pilot, Wing Commander S.V. Munje, and the co-pilot, Wing Commander P.S. Narah, had managed to bail out in time but the latter was killed after being apparently hit by the falling debris of the aircraft.

The Su-30 was inducted in 1996 and the IAF fleet currently has 98 such aircraft. This will rise to 230 by 2015.

Of the Su-30s in the IAF fleet, some were bought in flyaway condition from its Russian manufacturer while state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) manufactured the others under licence. It was not clear which category the crashed jet belonged to.

The Su-30 has won universal acclaim from the air forces of the US, Britain and France whenever it has been fielded against them in war games. Eight Su-30s had participated in the prestigious Red Flag exercise with the US Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, last year and had more than held their own against their counterparts’ F/A-18 and F-16 combat jets.

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