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IAF seeks Russian help in Sukhoi crash probe

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SU-30MKI and Typhoon, F3 flying in formation. A file Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Treading cautiously following the first-ever Sukhoi crash since the warplane's inception 12 years back, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has called for the assistance of Russian experts to carry out checks on the 60-aircraft fleet before taking them to the skies again.

IAF officials said here on Wednesday that the requisition for the experts from the Russian Sukhoi Corporation, the original equipment manufacturers, was sent a couple of days ago, as the aircraft were still being manufactured in India under a contractual warranty from Russia.

But the scheduled arrival of the experts for carrying out the joint probe into the Su-30MKI crash and for conducting checks on the aircraft fleet was yet to be intimated to the IAF, they said.

"The fleet from the three Sukhoi squadrons has not flown for the past one week after the crash on April 30 in which the IAF lost a fighter pilot. But no official order for their grounding has been given," officials said.

Grounding, which is a technical order, is issued only after a flaw has been identified. In the case of the Sukhoi crash, the investigations began a week ago and the IAF has not yet figured out the reasons for the crash," officials said.

"Just because the aircraft is on the ground and has not flown does not mean, the fleet has been grounded. Whenever there is a need to carry out a sortie, the aircraft can be flown," said an official at the Air Headquarters.

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