NEW DELHI: A Chetak helicopter and a Sukhoi fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed at two different places on Wednesday.
The Chetak helicopter, on a routine sortie, crash-landed after developing a snag post take-off from the Central Air Command headquarters at Bamrauli in Uttar Pradesh. The frontline Sukhoi, also on a routine sortie, crashed in a Rajasthan village, injuring three villagers. In both the incidents, the pilots ejected safely.
“An inquiry has been ordered to establish cause of accident,” said Defence Ministry spokesperson Lt Colonel Manish Ojha.
According to sources, the IAF has nearly 230 Sukhoi planes in its inventory and orders have been placed for another 42 aircraft with a cost of Rs 250 crore per aircraft. The Sukhoi-30 is the only jet that has a twin pilot feature, as the aircraft is deployed in the 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, including glitches in the fly-by-wire system of the warplane, as the cause.But Russian technicians have been blaming Indian pilots for the crashes.
According to information submitted by the Defence Ministry in Parliament, as many as 22 fighter aircraft of the 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 the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre said that in the current fiscal year, five fighter jets have crashed, compared to four in 2015-16. He said seven jets had crashed in 2014-15, while the number was six in 2013-14.
Light utility Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are considered as the 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.