A Sukhoi frontline combat plane of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in the Pokhran ranges in Rajasthan on Tuesday, but the two pilots, who were training for a fire power demonstration slated for Friday, bailed out to safety.
This is the fifth IAF plane crash in this fiscal. The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry into the air crash.
“One Su-30 aircraft of the IAF crashed at Pokharan Range at about 7.20 pm,” an IAF spokesperson said here. “The aircraft was on a night-flying training mission. Both the pilots ejected safely,” she said. “There is no reported damage to any civil property or life on ground. A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident,” she added.
The Sukhoi plane and its pilots were training for the major fire power demonstration, which will be witnessed by President Pranab Mukherjee and several dignitaries and diplomats. Over 230 aircraft - combat, transport and helicopters - are scheduled to participate in the demonstration to be held at Pokhran ranges.
This is the fourth reported crash of a Sukhoi plane in the last 16 years since it was first inducted into the IAF in 1997. The first two crashes took place in 2009, one reportedly due to a fly-by-wire switch failure and another due to a technical fault owing to engine ingestion of a foreign object. The third occurred in 2011.
A MiG-27 combat plane had crashed in Pokhran while participating in the fire power demonstration training on Feburary 12.