NEW DELHI - India's mainstay fleet of Russian-made Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft have been temporarily grounded following a Dec. 13 crash in Pune. Though no reason has been attributed for the latest crash, an inquiry has been set up by the Indian Air Force.
Air Force sources said the entire fleet of Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft have been temporarily grounded for technical checkups. The Air Force has lost three Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft since 2009.
India license-produces Sukhoi-30 MKI at its Bangalore facility of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics. So far, about 130 Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft have been delivered to the Air Force. The total fleet strength of the Sukhoi-30 MKI will reach about 275 aircraft in 2015.
In 2009, the crash of Sukhoi-30 MKI was attributed to fault with the fly-by-wire system.
The Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft are capable of carrying a nuclear weapon, and can fly deep inside China with the help of midair refuelers, as they have a range of more than 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles).