Second Sukhoi crash in 7 months
A Sukhoi-30 fighter plane today crashed near Jetha ki Dhani in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer district, but both the pilot and the co-pilot baled out safely.jaipur Updated: Dec 01, 2009 01:43 IST
A Sukhoi air superiority fighter jet of the IAF on Monday crashed at Jetha Ki Dhani near Pokhran firing ranges in Rajasthan, but the two pilots bailed out to safety.
This is the second Sukhoi crash of the IAF, with the first reported on April 30 this year in which the co-pilot was killed.
"A Sukhoi fighter jet crashed southwest of Pokhran in Jaisailmer district today," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander T K Singha said in New Delhi.
IAF sources said the Sukhoi had taken off from Jodhpur at 16.45 Hours for a routine training sortie and it crashed around 17.30 Hours.
The aircraft was being piloted by Wing Commander Shrivastav and assisted by a navigator in the co-pilot's seat. Both bailed out safely just before the crash, they added.
The latest Sukhoi crash is the 13th IAF aircraft crash this year and the eighth fighter jet mishap. The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry into the mishap.
The IAF has also lost a Kiran MkII trainer aircraft of the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team, three MiG-27s, three MiG-21s, a HPT-32 trainer aircraft, an AN-32 transport aircraft, a Mi-8 and a Mi-17 helicopters this year.
In the first Sukhoi crash, IAF lost one of the two pilots, Wg Cdr P S Narah, while the other pilot Wg Cdr S V Munje survived.
Defence Minister A K Antony had only last week informed the Rajya Sabha during question hour about the IAF air crashes this year and assured the Upper House that each of the crash was investigated thoroughly and remedial measures taken.
The IAF currently operates around 100 Sukhoi-30 fighters in five squadrons based in Lohegaon near Pune and at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.
Just a couple of months ago, the IAF had moved a few of the potent Sukhoi fighters to Tezpur in Assam, closer to the Chinese Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the north east part of the country.
India had initially ordered 40 SU-30 fighters from Russia in 1996 and another 140 of the fighters were to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Later in 1998, IAF also bought another 10 SU-30s in a fly-away condition.
This January, IAF had again placed an order for 50 more Sukhoi fighters, thus taking the likely total number of the aircraft in the IAF fleet to 280.