The Sukhoi 30 MKI fighters of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which have been grounded since October 22, have been cleared for flying again. The fleet of 200-odd fighter aircraft was grounded after a Sukhoi fighter crashed near Pune on October 14. After receiving clearance, the first sortie was conducted on Friday.
Meanwhile, a team of Russian technicians, IAF and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) personnel have been examining the cause of the Pune crash — specifically the automatic ejection of the pilot seats that is believed to have led to the crash. “The findings have been submitted and it is in final stages,” an IAF spokesperson said.
On Friday morning, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had said that the “fleet would start flying within a week”.
On October 14, a Sukhoi fighter plane had crashed into a village near Pune when it was returning for landing. After the incident, the IAF had ordered an inquiry into the technical snag that led to the incident. A team of IAF, HAL personnel and Russian technicians has been examining the seats that reportedly ejected automatically.