An Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft crashed near Pimpalgaon Baswant town around 25 km from Nashik, Maharashtra at around 11 am on Wednesday.
The aircraft was piloted by Wing Commander Prashant Nair accompanied by Squadron Leader L. Biswal (Flight Test Engineer). According to local reports, both the pilots ejected safely and have been rushed for medical care. There are also no injuries on the ground.
The cause of the crash is speculated to be a technical failure in the aircraft which took off from Nashik Airport earlier. The Nashik Airport is owned by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which uses the airport primarily to develop, test and build aircraft for the Indian Armed Forces.
The fighter jet was a reportedly a production aircraft of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and was being tested before delivery to the Indian Air Force. A top official involved with the aircraft production said that the aircraft was the first of the batch produced at the Aircraft Manufacturing Division at HAL Nashik this year. According to him, this particular aircraft had completed several flights and was about to be inducted into the IAF.
According to the initial reports, it is not clear that whether the pilots of the jet are from HAL or IAF (under deputation with HAL).
Sukhoi Su-30MKI “Flanker-H” is a twinjet multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
A variant of the Sukhoi Su-30, it is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter. Development of the variant started after India signed a deal with Russia in 2000 to manufacture 140 Su-30 fighter jets.
The first Russian-made Su-30MKI variant was accepted into the Indian Air Force in 2002, while the first indigenously assembled Su-30MKI entered service with the IAF in 2004. The IAF had 240 Su-30MKIs in service as of October 2017. The Su-30MKI is expected to form the backbone of the Indian Air Force’s fighter fleet to 2020 and beyond.
The aircraft is tailor-made for Indian specifications and integrates Indian systems and avionics as well as French and Israeli sub-systems. It has abilities similar to the Sukhoi Su-35 with which it shares many features and components.