The Indian Air Force (IAF) has grounded its entire fleet of Russia-developed Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft to undergo safety checks, an IAF spokesperson said in an official statement Wednesday.
“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,” Wing Commander Simranpal Singh Birdi said.
The fleet of about 200 Su-30 jets currently grounded represents almost a third of the country’s fighter fleet. The IAF is due to purchase another 72 of the aircraft from Russia.
An IAF Sukhoi-30 MKI crashed into a field in the Pune district in the western Indian state of Maharashtra on Tuesday. There were no casualties as both the pilot and the co-pilot had ejected to safety.
The Su-30 MKI, NATO reporting name Flanker-H, is the IAF’s elite fighter-bomber. It was developed by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation and built under license by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics.