Sukhoi crashes near Jaisalmer, pilot safe


The aircraft from Pune was on its annual exercise mission in the Chandan field firing range near Pokhran when it crashed around 5.45 pm at Kalron ki dhani near Jaisalmer district.

District Collector Vishnu Kant said since the plane crashed in a field, quite at a distance from populated area, there has been reportedly no casualty or damage to property, he said.

A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the cause of the accident.
This is the second Su-30 crash since its induction in 1997. The first Su-30 MKI crash took place exactly seven months ago around the same location.
That fighter took off from Pune and crashed 70 km south east of Jaisalmer on April 30, 2009. One of the pilots was killed in the crash.

Despite its unblemished safety records till 2009, two Su-30 MKI accidents in close succession raises a question or two on the safety of the fighter.
Su-30 MKI will eventually be one of the mainstays of the IAF in the next decade along with the indigenous light combat aircraft and the 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft.

India currently operates three squadrons of Su-30 fighters based in Pune and Bareilly. One Su-30 squadron, from Pune, will later be moved to Tezpur in Assam as and when a fourth squadron will be raised.
In the 12th plan period, two more Su-30 squadrons will be raised in one of the north Indian base under the western air command.
India ultimately plans to have 10 squadrons of Su-30 MKI, with advanced avionics and better capabilities, by 2014.

Monday’s crash has increased the IAF accident tally in 2009 to 13. The list includes two Su-30 MKI, three each MiG-27 and miG-21, one HPT-32 and one Kiran MK-II trainer and a lone AN-32 transport aircraft besides two helicopters.

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