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Sukhoi-30s to be back in air in week’s time: Air Force Chief

SU-30MKI fighter plane crashes

New Delhi, Nov 14 (PTI) India’s frontline combat aircraft Sukhoi-30 fleet, which was grounded after a crash near Pune, will be back in air “within a week’s time”, Air Force Chief Arup Raha today said.

He also said that the findings of a Court of Inquiry into the crash are being finalised.

This is the longest period that the Russian-made aircraft has been grounded since 2009 when its operation was suspended for nearly three weeks following an accident.

“This (Pune crash on October 14) was an accident which appeared to be automatic firing of the seats. Court of Inquiry is about to be complete and the findings are being finalised. We will have the results very soon and we are going to start flying the aircraft very soon,” Raha told reporters here.

He said that “preliminary findings” do indicate that they have been able to find the reason and “we will be able to tackle the problem without much issue”.

“I am very hopeful that the CoI will end soon and we will be able to fly this fleet all over again and get back to normal,” he said.

Asked specifically how long will it take for the Sukhoi flights to resume, he said, “Within a week’s time we will start flying this aircraft”.

Talking about the issues related to after sales support by Russians, the Air Force Chief said SU-30 is a “huge and complicated project” under which 270 plus aircraft are being acquired from Russia.

“Of course IAF has been involved in final configuration of the aircraft. A lot of it is from our side, indigenous and from other sources. So this is a huge project, a complicated project,” the Chief of Air Staff said.

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