This Article is From Dec 03, 2009

After Monday's crash, Sukhoi fleet grounded

New Delhi: Less than 10 days ago India's supreme commander President Pratibha Patil flew in Sukhoi fighter jet. Now, the entire fleet of Sukhoi 30s has been grounded as a standard operating procedure. (In pics: President Patil flies in a Sukhoi)

The reason: Monday's crash of India's frontline fighter jet; the second in a little over six months.

The first crash in April was blamed on defects in the fly-by-wire mechanism. On Monday, the engines caught fire sparking a major concern in the air headquarters. What caused the fire is still unclear.

The Air Force will carry out thorough checks on the 100-strong fleet before resuming operations.

Inducted in the Indian Air Force in 1996, the Sukhoi fighters are India's top of the line combat aircraft, the Sukhoi's had an accident-free record until now.

The inspection has become necessary since India is poised to induct over 150 Sukhois over the next five years.