The grounded Sukhoi fighter jet fleet is likely to get airborne again by Monday, senior IAF officers said on Friday, adding that the aircraft crash on November 30 near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan was caused by a fire in its engine.
The precautionary checks on the Sukhoi fleet were in progress and it could be completed by Monday, when it would be cleared for flying again, they said.
After the mishap, the IAF had stopped flying the 100 Sukhoi aircraft in its fleet and had kept it on the ground to carry out checks. "The crash, we have learnt during preliminary investigation, was caused by a fire in its engine. It (the Sukhoi
fleet) will start flying again on Monday."
SU-30MKI, a Russian-origin aircraft made at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited facility in India, is a twin-engine, twin-seater, air superiority fighter jet. The aircraft, which crashed on Monday, was on a routine training sortie and its pilots, Wg Cdr Shrivastav and Flt Lt Arora, had bailed out to safety before the mishap.
"The pilots had switched off the engine to control the fire and this led to the mishap," the IAF officers said. A probe team comprising IAF officers and HAL officials have recovered the black box, that holds its cockpit voice and
data recorders, which would be analysed soon, the officials said.
In the previous Sukhoi crash on April 30 this year, the IAF had lost a pilot and trouble in its fly-by-wire system was said to be the cause of that mishap.