Nashik: An under-production Sukhoi jet crashed today in Maharashtra’s Nashik. No casualties have been reported yet. Both pilots are said to have ejected safely. Both the pilots ejected safely before the plane, which was on a routine sortie, hit the ground near a grape farm.
The under-production Sukhoi Su-30MKI twinjet multirole air superiority fighter of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) crashed around 25 km from Nashik, shortly after taking off from the HAL airstrip near the city, police said.
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI was an under-production aircraft of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Therefore, it wasn’t yet part of the Indian Air Force (IAF)A Sukhoi aircraft awaiting induction in the Indian Air Force crashed near here today, police said.
At least eight Sukhoi-30MKIs have crashed since they were inducted. The IAF has inducted around 240 of the 272 Sukhoi-30MKIs contracted from Russia for $12 billion, the bulk of them produced by HAL under licence.
Last year in May, a frontline Sukhoi jet crashed near the China border killing both pilots on board. A technical snag is believed to have stopped them from initiating ejection, suggesting they went down with the plane. They met with fatal injuries and succumbed to them. The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry to investigate the cause of the accident.
“Normally around 12 aircraft for a new squadron is manufactured and each aircraft, worth over Rs 300 crore, has a manufacturing cycle of around 3 years,” the official said.
“This particular aircraft had completed several flights and was about to be inducted into the IAF,” he said.
Before induction, such aircraft are flown by either HAL pilots or IAF pilots under deputation with HAL, he added.
The Sukhoi Su-30 is a Russian-made, twin-engine fighter meant for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface missions. The first of the Su-30 planes were inducted by the IAF in the late 1990s. Since then, at least six crashes have taken place. Probes into the accidents have indicated mostly technical failure.