The IAF fighter jets took off from Gwalior for a simulated training exercise; Image: Republic
One officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF) was martyred in an accident involving two different planes that took off from Gwalior for a simulated training exercise. According to the defence sources, two fighter jets Sukhoi Su-30 and Mirage-2000 planes possibly collided mid-air at extremely high speeds over Morena in Madhya Pradesh.
In an official statement, the IAF confirmed the crash and revealed that two of the surviving pilots sustained injuries in what could be a 'possible' crash of the planes. The IAF has launched an investigation to probe the accident and confirm if it really was a collision.
"Two fighter aircraft of IAF were involved in an accident near Gwalior today morning. The aircraft were on routine operational flying training mission. One of the three pilots involved, sustained fatal injuries. An inquiry has been ordered to determine the cause of the accident," a tweet by IAF read.
Two fighter aircraft of IAF were involved in an accident near Gwalior today morning. The aircraft were on routine operational flying training mission.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) January 28, 2023
One of the three pilots involved, sustained fatal injuries. An inquiry has been ordered to determine the cause of the accident.
So far, we know that the Su-30 fighter jet had two pilots while only one was aboard the Mirage-2000. Two of the pilots who survived the crash have been rescued.
#LIVE | Morena #planecrash: #Sukhoi30 and #Mirage2000 fighter jets crash in MP; one pilot dead, two injured. pic.twitter.com/xvHzp5gWtl— Republic (@republic) January 28, 2023
Speculating about what might have happened for the accident to transpire, Wing Commander Vinod Nebb (Retired) told Republic that one aircraft definitely might have rammed into another mid-air during the exercise. "The debris are almost 100 km apart. So obviously they were doing some exercise where one has gone into the other," the veteran said. He also said that there is nothing to doubt about the aircraft's components as the only thing that gets old is their airframe.
Group Captain Augustine Vinod (Retired), while speaking to Republic TV, explained the details of how accident-prone air force exercises are and stated that such an incident is a 'demotivating'. "Did it go wrong because of error in judgement or error of skill or is it technical, it remains to be seen," he said.
The Su-30 is a twin-engine, two-seater fighter aircraft which was developed by the then-Soviet Union Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. Weighing 17,700 kg, the Su-30 has a top speed of 2,120 km per hour and a maximum range of 3,000 km and a maximum altitude of 56,800 feet. Although it cannot be fuelled mid-air like the upgraded version Su-30 MKI, the Su-30 too can be equipped with a wide range of weapons including guided missiles and a 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov autocannon which fires 150 rounds in one minute.
The Mirage-2000 is another multirole combat fighter aircraft which is manufactured by the French company Dassault Aviation. Capable of being modified to carry a range of air-to-surface missiles and laser-guided bombs, the Mirage-2000 has a maximum speed of 2,336 km per hour and a range of 3,335 km.