'A Su-30 MKI Witnessed It..': Here's What We Know So Far About The Mid-Air Collision Between Two IAF Fighters

Ujjwal Shrotryia

Jan 31, 2023, 05:34 PM | Updated 05:34 PM IST

Sukhoi Su-30MKI.
(Representational image).
Sukhoi Su-30MKI. (Representational image).

There was another Su-30 MKI of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the air during the tragic mid-air collision of a Mirage-2000 and a Su-30 MKI, which resulted in the death of Wing Commander Hanumanth Rao Sarathi, Economic Times revealed.

The crew of the second Su-30 MKI, which was part of the training exercise during which the accident occurred, witnessed the mid-air collision between the two fighters. 

The report also reveals that an Air Commodore rank officer of the IAF will lead the probe into the mid-air accident.  

On Saturday, 28 January 2023, two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighters — a Mirage 2000 and a Su-30 MKI — suffered a mid-air collision while training out of Gwalior Airbase in Madhya Pradesh.

Their wreckages were found in Morena of Madhya Pradesh and Bharatpur of Rajasthan.

The report says that three fighters took off from Gwalior Airbase to conduct 2 vs 1 air combat training. The Mirage was acting as an aggressor plane. These drills are a vital part of fighter pilot training and they prepare the pilots for actual air combat.

As the training went on, the Mirage and the Su-30 MKI collided with each other, which was witnessed by the third Su-30 MKI.

The Mirage crashed instantly killing its pilot, Wing Commander Hanumanth Rao Sarathi. The Su-30 MKI involved in the accident remained in air for some time, which allowed the other two pilots to eject safely. They sustained minor injuries and were rescued later. 

The Economic Times report also says that the testimony of the pilots on the third Su-30 MKI will be the key to reconstructing the event for the Court of Inquiry of the IAF.

The Flight Data Recorders and the testimony of the pilots, who ejected from the Su-30 MKI, will also be considered during the investigation into the accident. 

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