New Delhi: A team of Russian experts is in India to carry out technical evaluation of Sukhoi-30 fighter planes, whose entire fleet was grounded over 10 days back in the wake of a crash of the Russian-made frontline combat aircraft.
The team of 10 experts is currently in Pune, the Sukhoi-30 base, probing the crash that took place on October 14 near there with both the pilot seats ejecting without any command during landing. The pilots were safe but the aircraft crashed about 20 kms short of the runway.
The fleet was grounded a week later.
The Russian experts along with IAF personnel and officials from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited besides others are conducting a complete evaluation of the fleet of about 200 twin-engine fighters, IAF sources said here today.
The jets will be back in operation only when the process is completed, the sources added.
The grounded fleet represents almost a third of the country's fighter plane fleet.
IAF is already down to 34 combat squadrons, as against an authorised strength of 44. Each squadron has up to 18 fighter planes.
Incidentally, one of the two pilots of this ill-fated aircraft was involved in a previous Su-30 crash too.
This was the fifth accident involving a SU-30 MKI since 2009 and the fleet has at least been grounded twice earlier.