An Indian Air Force-operated Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet has reportedly gone missing after it lost radar contact on Tuesday (23 May). It had taken off from Assam's Tejpur area located in the northeast of the country.
The jet was on a regular training mission, with two pilots on board. Authorities suspect the plane crashed in the area and have launched a search operation.
"The Sukhoi aircraft went missing near Tejpur while on a routine training sortie when it lost contact with radars. Two pilots were on board the plane," a senior Air Force official told local media.
Media reports suggested that the region was witnessing bad weather when the fighter jet lost contact with ground stations. The last contact made by the jet with ground support was around 11.30am local time (7.00am BST). The jet was around 60km north of Tezpur air force station when it went missing.
The Tezpur air force station is around 172km from the China border.
The Times of India reported that the Indian Air Force has lost seven of its 240 inducted Sukhoi jets in the past to crashes. The most recent loss was on 15 March when a Sukhoi jet crashed in a village in Rajasthan state's Barmer district. The pilots had ejected safely, but three villagers were injured.
India and Russia had entered into an agreement for the maintenance and upkeep of the fighter aircraft fleet. However, many jets are reported to be still in need of repairs.