New Delhi: Government plans to more than double the number of Russian-made Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter aircraft in Indian Air Force fleet to 230 by 2015, defence minister A K Antony informed the Rajya Sabha Tuesday.
Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, Antony said since 1996 IAF has procured 98 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft.
“By 2015, we plan to have a fleet of 230 Sukhoi fighter aircraft,” he said.
IAF, he said, feels Sukhoi — one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world — is best suited for Indian conditions. “IAF is very happy with these aircraft,” he said.
He said a court of inquiry has been ordered into a Sukhoi crash near Jaisalmer on 30 April during a routine training flight. Both pilots ejected but the flying inspector, who was also a qualified pilot and was occupying the rear seat, succumbed to injuries.
“Following the incident, the IAF has undertaken a detailed inspection of all Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter aircraft,” he said.
Minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju said the blackbox of the crashed Sukhoi was badly damaged and has been sent to the UK for retrieving information.
The court of inquiry would look into the possible reasons for the crash including probability of malfunctioning of some equipment.