Indian Su-30s not flying, but not grounded either

Indian Sukhoi Su-30MKI

Has India grounded its Sukhoi Su-30MKI (above) fleet after last week’s fatal crash? Yes, but not officially, appears to be the answer.

The Indian Air Force has denied media reports that it grounded the fighters after the incident, in which one of the two pilots died. Experts from Sukhoi are coming to India to help investigate the crash, the first involving the type in the 12 years it has been in service in the country.

However, sources say that the IAF has not flown the type since the 30 April incident and they will remain in the hangars until after precautionary checks on the remaining 55 Su-30s. An aircraft type is grounded only if a fault has been detected by the manufacturers – in this case Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics, which license-produces the fighter in India, they add. That is not the case here – yet.

It is no surprise that the IAF is rather reticent. The Su-30s are India’s most advanced front-line combat aircraft, and their grounding is bound to have an impact on the country’s security planning. So the word is that while the Su-30s may be in the hangars, they can still be scrambled to fly sorties if needed. You have been warned.

For those who want to see the Indian Su-30MKIs in action, here is a cool video of them in action at Red Flag 2008.

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