Second Sukhoi crashes within an year, pilots safe (Second Lead)November 30th, 2009 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS
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 and were safe, an official said.
The Sukhoi-30 MKI, belonging to 31 Squadron based in Bareilly air force station, crashed in southwest of Pokharan in Rajasthan at 5.30 pm Monday.
“The aircraft was on a routine training sortie for a fire power demonstration when it crashed near Pokhran,” an IAF official told IANS.
The pilots, identified as Wing Cmdr. Srivastava and Flt. Lt. Arora, ejected in time and survived the crash.
“No damage to civil life and property has been reported. A court of inquiry has been constituted to look into the cause of the accident,” an IAF spokesperson said.
This was the second crash of the Sukhoi combat jet since its induction into the force 12 years ago.
In April this year, 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 reason behind the crash is yet to be ascertained.
The Su-30 was inducted in 1996 and the IAF fleet currently has 98 such aircraft. This number 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 to which category the crashed jet belonged.
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.
The year is proving to be bad for the IAF in terms of accidents with 13 crashes. These have included two Sukhois, six MiGs fighter jets, one Kiran MkII trainer, one HPT-32 trainer aircraft, one AN-32 transport aircraft and two helicopters.
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Tags: co pilot, combat jet, combat jets, falling debris, fire power, flag exercise, flt lt, fly by wire, indian air force, munje, narah, pilot wing, power demonstration, russian manufacturer, russian origin, sukhoi 30 mki, sukhoi 30mki, universal acclaim, us air force, year one