IAF grounds all Sukhoi fighter planes after Jaisalmer crash

Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter

Two days after a Sukhoi fighter jet crashed, the second this year, the Indian Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of 100 SU-30 aircraft.

"Following the crash at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on Monday, the IAF has stopped flying all its Sukhoi planes and is conducting precautionary checks on each of the aircraft," an IAF official said in New Delhi on Wednesday.

A Sukhoi fighter jet had crashed during a routine training sortie south-west of Pokharan firing ranges. The two pilots, Wing Commander Srivastava and Flight Lieutenant Arora had bailed out to safety.

The previous Sukhoi crash took place on April 30 this year near Jaisalmer, killing Wing Commander P S Narah and leaving Wing Commander S V Munje injured.

The two Sukhoi crashes this year are among the 13 air crashes the IAF suffered in the last 11 months. The Sukhoi mishaps have come as a setback to the 12 year safety record IAF had achieved with the aircraft which was inducted into the force in 1996.

IAF currently has five operational Sukhoi squadrons. It aims to have at least 280 Sukhoi air superiority fighters in its fleet.

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