BHOPAL: Two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crashed in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena on Saturday, reportedly when they were practicing a bombing mission.
The jets – Sukhoi-30 and Mirage 2000 – crashed near Morena’s Pahargarh area after taking off from Gwalior air base. The two fighter jets were part of different teams in the exercise.
According to sources, two pilots reportedly ejected safely while one is feared dead. Since the wreckage are very close to each other; it is suspected that it could be a mid-air collision. Sources said that the collision is not head-on, wings clipped.
The crash caused no damage to public property. State police confirmed that no civilian was injured due to the crash.
Fire tenders have been rushed to the spot to bring the flames under control. A court of inquiry is being ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, official sources said.
This is IAF’s second Su-30 that has crashed in recent years. The previous incident took place in 2019 where the Su-30 MKI fighter jet, on a routine training mission, crashed at a paddy field in Assam’s Milanpur area and burst into flames. Two pilots flying the fighter had safely ejected from the jet and were rescued. One of the pilots had suffered a leg injury.
Earlier, a Mirage-2000 had crashed in Bhind in October 2021 after it experienced a technical malfunction during a training sortie in the central sector. The pilot had ejected safely. The jet had hit the ground near Babedi village in Mankabad, around 8km from Bhind district headquarters and barely 10-minute flying time from Gwalior. It crashed while apparently on approach for landing. It was the second IAF crash in MP that year, the earlier one unfortunately being fatal.
On March 17, 2019, Group Captain A Gupta was taking off on a combat training mission when his MiG-21 ‘Bison’ crashed at Gwalior’s Maharajpur air base. Another IAF plane had crashed in Bhind in 2019. The pilots – a Group Captain and a Squadron Leader – had ejected safely.
On March 12, 2018, a Mirage-2000 had crashed near Bhind soon after taking off from Gwalior but both pilots managed to eject. And on February 24, 2012, a Mirage-2000, flown by an Air Marshal, crashed near Bhind five minutes after taking off from Gwalior. He ejected safely.
On October 12, 2004, another Mirage-2000 trainer crashed near Gwalior while taking part in a joint exercise with Singapore Air Force. The pilots ejected safely after concluding that the aircraft would not be able to make it to the base, recalls an officer. It had crashed 4 nautical miles short of the base. Around 27 aircraft, including 15 fighter jets and helicopters, have been lost in crashes since 2016.