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IAF refuses to buy human error argument

IAF refuses to buy human error argument
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The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Irkut Corporation, Russian manufacturers of Sukhoi30 aircraft, got into a pow-wow at the ongoing air show in Bengaluru on Thursday. The Russians blamed “human factor” for the crash of a Sukhoi30 MKI fighter aircraft in October last year that led to the grounding of the entire fleet of India’s frontline fighter plane for a month, a charge denied by the IAF.

“Our stand is human factor,” said Vitaly Borodich, Vice-President (Military Sales) of Irkut Corporation. Borodich claimed that the IAF had also accepted it to be a human factor. Irkut is the subsidiary of Russia’s state-run United Aircraft Corporation, which is the umbrella organisation of the country’s aerospace industry.

However, the IAF, which has ordered a Court of Inquiry into the crash, denied that a final conclusion had arrived. Noting that the incident relates to “inadvertent firing” of ejection seat of the plane, Air Force Chief Arup Raha said India has had similar incidents or accidents in the past.

 “In this case, we have done a thorough investigation, but it is not yet complete. A final report is yet to come. But we did not find anything wrong with the system. And it does not, of course, indicate that there is a human error or a pilot error,” he said.

Raha also ruled out buying of more Russian SU-30s in place of French Rafale jets, saying the two aircrafts complement each other but do not replace the other. Amid doubts creeping in that talks with Rafale would breakdown, Raha said his force had no Plan B and was working on only Plan A.

Highlighting that his force has a number of legacy aircraft and their replacements are necessary, Raha said the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal, for which Rafale has been shortlisted, needs to be inked in the “quickest possible time because drawdown is true”.

Defence sources had said that India could buy more Sukhoi40s, in case the Rafale deal did not materialise. However, Raha said, “MMRCA and Sukhoi30, the requirements are slightly different. And they have their own capabilities. They complement each other but do not replace each other.”
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