Human error led to the crash of a top-of-the-line Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter plane near Pune last December, defence minister AK Antony revealed in Parliament on Wednesday.
However, it wasn’t pilot error but some slip-up by ground crew during servicing that caused the crash. The fighter plane was manufactured in India under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited with parts provided by Russia.
The Su-30, inducted in the IAF in 1997, had a phenomenal safety record until a fighter crashed for the first time in April 2009 near Jaisalmer. Until then, the plane had flown more than over 20,000 accident-free hours. Three Su-30s have crashed in the last three years.
The first crash was caused due to a failure of the fly-by-wire system. A failure in the system means that the pilot could not get the fighter to respond to his command. IAF sources said the Sukhois were due for an upgrade in Russia involving advances in the weapons package, radar and avionics.