India grounds Sukhoi-30 fleet; safety checks on

New Delhi:  India has grounded its entire Sukhoi-30 fleet and each aircraft is undergoing a thorough technical check following a recent crash near Pune.

The fleet of about 200 twin-engine Su-30s would be back in air only when they are cleared by the technical review.

“The fleet has been grounded and is undergoing technical checks following the latest accident in Pune. It would be back in air only after a thorough check,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Simranpal Singh Birdi said.

He did not specify what were the specific technical aspects that the force is looking into.

The grounded fleet represent almost a third of the country’s fighter fleet.

The IAF is down to 34 combat squadrons, as against an authorised strength of 44. Each squadron has up to 18 fighter planes.

Last week, a Sukhoi-30 MKI had crashed in a field near Pune, and preliminary findings had suggested a technical problem in the fly-by-wire system as the cause and not human error.

In a press statement, the IAF had named the pilots as Wing Commander S Munje and Flying Officer Anup Singh.

“The SU 30 MKI Aircraft accident is under investigation. A Court of Inquiry is in progress to ascertain the actual cause of accident,” he said.

Incidentally, one of the two pilots was involved in a previous Su-30 crash too.

This was the fifth accident involving a SU 30 MKI since 2009 and the fleet has at least been grounded twice earlier.

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