An Indian Air Force Su-30MKI fighter jet has crashed in a field in the state of Assam, northeast India, a local police source has told Sputnik.
The accident took place in the vicinity of the city of Tezpur, about 75 km southwest of India's border with Bhutan, and 130 km south of the border with China, on Thursday night. The plane was reportedly flying out of Tezpur Airport.
Both pilots managed to eject from the plane before the crash, but sustained injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital. Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the seriousness of their injuries.
The Indian Air Force released a statement about the incident, saying the plane was engaged in a "routine training mission," with both pilots rescued and a "court of inquiry" to "ascertain [the] cause of the accident" to take place.
Unconfirmed reports suggest an unspecified 'technical snag' was to blame for the crash.
jet fighter down in tezpur assam due to technical snag.— Pallvz (@PallabkrBaruah) 8 августа 2019 г.
flames seen jet explodes!!😶😳 pic.twitter.com/WEf1dsyB71
Footage from the scene showed firetrucks putting out flaming wreckage.
Video received from Tezpur, from a friend.— Aniket Deshpande (@aniket0608) 8 августа 2019 г.
Glad the pilot's safe 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/SwAv6NGhdt
The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a Russian-designed heavy, long-range fourth generation air superiority fighter built under licence by India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The planes began to be introduced into the Indian Air Force in the early 2000s, with India building about 250 of the planes by 2018, and continuing to build more. The planes feature Indian avionics and a number of French and Israeli subsystems, with Russia providing a number of upgrades to weaponry and radar systems starting in the early 2010s.
Between 2009 and 2018, nine Su-30MKI fighters experienced accidents, with three crew members killed. The accidents were attributed to factors including pilot error, the ingestion of a foreign material in the engine intake, and suspected problems with the plane's fly-by-wire systems.
The planes serve as the backbone of the Indian fighter fleet. In February 2019, Su-30MKIs took part in skirmishes with the Pakistani Air Force amid the Kashmir crisis. On 4 March, Indian media reported that a Su-30MKI had shot down an intruding Pakistani drone.