Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne yesterday flew a Sukhoi combat jet in a bid to restore his pilots' confidence after doubts were raised over the aircraft's safety following a crash on December 13, the third since the plane was inducted in 1997.

Daring Act? Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne  at the Lohegaon airbase 
yesterday. Pic/ Krunal Gosavi 

After the flight, Browne told the personnel at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Lohegaon in Pune that he was there with them not only to fly the Sukhoi SU-30MKI, but also to assure them that the potent air superiority fighter jet's fleet is 'in good and capable hands'.

He added, "Our boys have been doing an excellent job and the momentum of building up the new SU-30 Squadrons should be maintained. Our people should be the highest priority, as only then will a cohesive team translate into a success story." 

After the crash near Pune on December 13, the IAF had grounded the fleet of nearly 120 Sukhois to carry out checks in which the Russian partners assisted India. 

Down memory lane
The Air Chief was on a official visit to the base, which he had previously commanded as the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), from 2001 to 2003. He also interacted with the Squadron pilots, engineers and all station personnel.