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IAF happy with Sukhoi fighters: Antony

July 08, 2009 19:16 IST

The Sukhoi crash on April 30 in Rajasthan today caused an uproar in the Rajya Sabha, forcing Defence Minister A K Antony to come out in favour of the air superiority of the IAF's fighter jet.

"The Su-30 is one of the most advanced jets in the world. The IAF is very happy with it. The IAF feels it is one of the best in the world," Antony said during Question Hour.

As his deputy, M M Pallam Raju, was replying to supplementaries, Antony said "the Indian Air Force 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."

Members had wanted to know from the minister if the crash "was a case of a wrong pilot in a right plane" and if "the pilots reported a malfunction."

Raju told the House the blackbox of the crashed Sukhoi was badly damaged and has been sent to the UK for retrieving information.

The Court of Inquiry ordered into the mishap would look into the possible reasons for the crash including probability of malfunctioning of some equipment, he added, without ruling out "technical failure" of the aircraft. On his part, Antony added that the government planned to more than double the number of Sukhoi fleet strength to 230 by 2015. "By 2015, we plan to have a fleet of 230 Sukhoi fighter aircraft," he said.

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