The crash of an Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30 MKI on October 14 has led to the temporary grounding of the entire fleet of some 200 jets. The IAF’s safety record is again under scrutiny, with concerns about training and maintenance being voiced unofficially.
A senior former IAF maintenance officer told AIN, on condition of anonymity: “It is likely that the seat cartridge was loose, something that has happened in the past. We have a sloppy system. We don’t react to incidents and equipment failures with speed. Moreover, squadrons have expanded and skilled trained manpower is not available.”
This is the fifth crash of an Su-30MKI in the past five years. Investigators attributed previous accidents to fuel pipeline leakage during ground run, autopilot failure and design deficiencies in the fire prevention system. “It is an attitude toward safety that is missing,” said a retired senior engineer.
In the last five financial years, 50 IAF aircraft have crashed, including 11 since the start of the current fiscal year in April 2014. According to Indian MoD figures released to Parliament last March, the equivalent of one fighter squadron—16-18 aircraft—is lost every two years. Deliveries of 72 more Su-30 MKIs are to be made by 2018. (Ainonline)