IAF lost another Sukhoi in Rajasthan’s Barmer district; pilots safe

The incident occurred near Shivkar village in Sadar police station area in Barmer, Additional SP Rameshwar Lal told PTI.

Published: 15th March 2017 04:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2017 09:53 PM   |  A+A-

Indian Air Force Sukhoi perform during Aero India in Bengaluru on Thursday. (Pushkar V|EPS)

Indian Air Force Sukhoi.(Image for representational purpose|EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force’s frontline Sukhoi fighter jet crashed in Rajasthan’s Barmer district, barely few kilometers from Pakistan border. Fleet of Russian made Su-30 MKI inducted into IAF in early 2000 and so far only six such accidents involving twin-seater jet happened, as it is the costliest fighter jet in IAF’s inventory.

Defence ministry’s spokesperson Lt. Colonel Manish Ojha, while confirming that both pilots ejected safely during the crash happened which jet was on a routine training sortie from Utarlai airbase in Barner said that “an inquiry has been ordered to establish cause of accident”.

However, according to local administration, three villagers were also injured in the crash.

According to sources, IAF has nearly 230 Sukhoi in its inventory and orders have already been placed for another 42 with coast of Rs. 250 crore per aircraft. Su-30 is the only jet which has twin pilot feature, as the aircraft is for air dominance category.

Since its induction into the fleet in early 2000, six such accidents have taken place and an inquiry into those crashes has primarily indicated technical failure cause of it including glitch in fly-by wire of the warplane. But during investigation Russian technicians keep blaming Indian pilots for crashes.

Indian air forces, which is already operating with it depleting fleet as it is decommissioning ageing fleet of MiG-21, which has been termed as ‘flying coffin’. IAF has 34 operational squadrons in place of 45 squadrons required to meet two front war scenarios.

As per information submitted by defence ministry in the Parliament, as many as 22 fighter aircraft of Indian  Air Force have crashed since 2013-14 and human error and technical defects were the main reasons for the accidents.

In a written reply on Tuesday in Rajya Sabha, junior minister in the defence Subhash Bhamre said the current year, five fighter jets have crashed against four in 2015-16. He said seven jets had crashed in 2014-15 while the number was six in 2013-14.

"Main reasons for these accidents were human error and technical defect," the Minister said.

Meanwhile, early on Wednesday, a Chetak helicopter of the IAF too crash landed in Kaushambi in Uttar Pradesh today minutes after it took off from an airbase on outskirts of Allahabad. Light utility Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are considered as lifeline for remotely located military posts, which are inaccessible by road. Since 2013-14, there have been four accidents involving Cheetah helicopters in which there were seven fatalities.

Crashes involving Su-30 fighter jet's

1) April 2009: The first Su-30MKI crashes in the Pokhran region. IAF’s Court of Inquiry establishes human error as one of the pilots mistakenly switched off the warplane’s fly-by-wire system.
2) November 2009: crashed near Jaisalmer, after a fire warning. Investigation attributes it to accidental ingestion of a foreign object in the engine intake.
3) December 2011: crashed 20 km from Pune. Inquiry says crash happened due to a malfunction in the fly-by-wire system.
4) February 2013: Jet’s right wing explodes over Pokhran soon after completing a training mission.
5) October 2013: Fly-by-wire system malfunctions, led to crash of Sukhoi near Pune.
6) May 2015: Jet develops a technical snag while flying in Tejpur, Pilot forced to eject.Cause is yet to be established.

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