NEW DELHI: A frontline aircraft of the Indian Air Force, seven Sukhoi-30 fighter planes have crashed since their induction into the IAF in 1997.
A SU-30 MKI with two pilots on board went missing near Tezpur in Assam during a routine training mission today.
The IAF has launched a massive search operation, also involving helicopters, to trace the plane and the two pilots, aged between 25 and 30.
Following is the chronology of the crashes involving the Sukhoi fighter jets:
April 30, 2009: An IAF pilot killed and another seriously injured in the first-ever Su-30 MKI fighter jet crash near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
November 30, 2009: A Sukhoi fighter jet crashed during a routine training sortie south-west of Pokhran firing ranges in Rajasthan. The two pilots, Wing Commander Srivastava and Flight Lieutenant Arora, bailed out safely.
December 13, 2011: A Sukhoi jet crashed soon after taking off from Lohegaon airbase near Pune but both the pilots managed to bail out safely. The aircraft was on a routine mission.
February 19, 2013: A Sukhoi aircraft crashed in Jaisalmer but both the pilots bailed out safely. There was no loss of life or damage to property on the ground.
October 14, 2014: A Sukhoi jet crashed at a village near Pune. Both the pilot and the co-pilot were unharmed.
May 19, 2015: A Sukhoi fighter crashed at Laokhowa in Nagaon district of Assam with both the pilot and co-pilot ejecting safely. It was on a routine sortie from Tezpur Air Force station and lost radar connection and crashed thereafter.
March 15, 2017: A Sukhoi aircraft crashed in Rajasthan's Barmer district, injuring three villagers. Both the pilots ejected safely from the plane. An IAF statement said a two-seater SU-30 MKI which took off from Tezpur airbase today as part of a two-aircraft formation, lost radar and radio contact with the IAF's air traffic control at 11.10 am.
The last reported position of the plane was 60 km northwest of Tezpur. A twin-engine multirole fighter of Russian origin, the plane is capable of carrying a variety of weapons, including medium-range air-to-air missiles. It can attain a maximum speed of over 2,000 km per hour.