The Indian Air Force (IAF) suffered the first crash its prestigious Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter earlier today when it crashed early this morning while on a routine training exercise. The pilot Wing Commander S.V. Munje ejected safely, but navigator Wing Commander P.S. Narah was unfortunately killed.
The crash occurred at 1030 (0500 GMT), about 70 km south-east of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan the north-west border of India with Pakistan. The aircraft had taken off from the Lohegaon air base at Pune, just east of Mumbai.
The Su-30MKI a state-of-the-art air superiority fighter featuring thrust vectoring, is the jewel in the crown of the IAF. Famed for the “Cobra” manoeuvre (see video above) where the fighter rears up like a cobra before dropping its nose for a kill shot, it was inducted into the IAF in 1997 which operates three squadrons of approximately 55 aircraft. India purchased 50 aircraft in a fly away condition from Russia and now the Su-30MKI is manufactured under license in India by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The IAF and the Su-30MKI have participated in the Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force base.
The flight crew are the cream of the IAF as evidenced by the Wing Commander rank (equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF) of both pilot and navigator. A board on inquiry has been formed to look into the incident, but the fleet has not been grounded because of the incident.
Blue skies and tail winds Wing Commander P.S. Narah.