July 06, 2015

Russian Air Force suffers fifth crash in a month

Rebel Staff

A frontline Sukhoi Su-24M attack aircraft (NATO reporting name: “Fencer”) has crashed in Khabarovsk Krai in the Russian far east, killing two pilots.

According to a Russian Ministry of Defence statement obtained by Interfax, a non-governmental Moscow-based news agency, “The plane crashed on take-off to perform a routine training flight in the Khurba area (Khabarovsk territory). Based on the report from the scene, both pilots were killed.”

“The plane crashed in an unpopulated area. There is no destruction on the ground,” the release continued.

The crash occurred at approximately 14:35 Moscow time.

The Su-24M incident is the latest in a string of serious accidents involving Russian combat aircraft, and the fifth in the past month, prompting concerns that the Kremlin might be demanding too much of the country’s armed forces in an effort to showcase military might.

Last week, the Russian Air Force grounded its fleet of MiG-29 “Fulcrum” multirole fighters for the second time in a month following a crash on July 3.

According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, Russia’s entire fleet of approximately 280 single- and twin-seat variants of the MiG-29 are subject to the order, which was implemented after the pilot, Major-General Alexander Berzan, Head of Aviation Safety for the Russian Armed Forces, was forced to eject from his aircraft after one of the two engines caught fire near Rostov-on-Don in southwest Russia.

Major-General Berzan was reported to have suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Almost exactly one month earlier on June 4, another MiG-29, a two-seat MiG-29KUB operational trainer aircraft, caught fire and exploded in mid-air over the Ashuluk training range near the Caspian Sea. Both crew members were reported to have ejected safely.

Separately, but also on June 4, a Sukhoi Su-34 “Fullback” strike aircraft was damaged after veering off the runway at the western Russian airport of Voronezh. And, four days later, on June 8, a Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear” strategic bomber overshot the runway at Ukrainka airfield in Russia’s far eastern Amur region.

“While leaving the aircraft, several crew members received injuries of various severity and were hospitalized,” state media reported at the time.

The increasing frequency of non-fatal and fatal incidents involving Russian combat aircraft could be a sign that the Kremlin’s recent sabre-rattling is taking its toll on the country’s ageing military apparatus, according to Dr. Igor Sutyagin, an expert in US-Russian relations at the UK’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

Speaking to Newsweek’s Damien Sharkov, Dr. Sutyagin said: “This could be an interesting sign of the overstretching of Russian armed capabilities, because the maintenance template for these vehicles does not take into account the much higher operational tempo they have been operating under lately.”

“The Bear bombers, for example, are designed for a single strike on missions not for extended training flights.”

Commenting in Jane’s Defence Weekly on the Tu-95 crash, aviation reporter Gareth Jennings said: “While the VVS [Russian Air Force] is currently engaged in an extensive modernization program, its biggest challenge relates to the replacement of the Tu-95 […] platforms given that Russia currently does not possess an appropriate equivalent in its inventory and has little realistic prospect of introducing one into the service in the medium term.”

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commented 2015-08-11 01:15:23 -0400
If the Russian Sukhoi Su-24M had a delta wing it would look just like the Canadian Avro Arrow from the late 1950’s……Hmmmm…55 years later and it still was way ahead of its time….
commented 2015-07-11 09:32:23 -0400
This plane looks eerily like the Arrow.
commented 2015-07-08 00:22:54 -0400
Apropos of Dale’s comment I am reminded that Russian military equipment has always had a shaky history… Back in October 1960 – when Nikita Khruschev famously banged his shoe on the UN’s podium – the Soviet Chairman was quite impressed by the military helicopter used to ferry President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Camp David and back… On returning to Moscow he asked that a Soviet helicopter be provided for his junkets around Russia rather than the usual parade of black limousines…. He was taken aside by one of the senior air force generals and told that was “not such a hot idea” given the reliability of the Soviet helicopter fleet at the time… And maybe not even today?…
commented 2015-07-07 12:03:59 -0400
Ever wonder why there is not a Russian equivalent to a Ford GT, an I-phone . . . or Microsoft?
commented 2015-07-06 21:49:03 -0400
I rather like those T-Shirts I see every now and again. “Vodka – Helping People Meet!”
commented 2015-07-06 20:29:07 -0400
because…. Putin thinks he is such a hot tough guy, and running an article on his less than perfect air force goes a small way to tarnish his shine. I hope it is reported in Russia, Putin has kept his people from the truth. All they get is Putin propaganda. RT is designed for the West to consume, and is carefully crafted. What the Russian public get is carefully crafted also, but with a very specific agenda of vilifying the West, attempting to control any real news coming in and tooting Putin’s own horn. Mr. ex KGB guy has the support of most of his people. Putin is bluff and bluster, as well as someone who follows through, but he is one of the most deceitful leaders, Russia has ever had, and we will have to deal with.

And he is short. Those pics of him riding bareback wearing no shirt, are on a pony, so he doesn’t look so small. He would look like a child on a normal sized horse. He also is careful about who he is photographed beside, no tall guys. Wears platform shoes. Little man syndrome. Too bad he is still more man than the sitting Commander in Chief in the White House. I hope the Americans can do something about that the next election and get a tough Republican in to clean house.
commented 2015-07-06 20:13:43 -0400
That was funny, PK! QUite funny!
commented 2015-07-06 20:12:55 -0400
I sometimes rather like having some news just for the sake of news, no other real reason. Not everything has to be controversial or directly related to politics.
commented 2015-07-06 20:08:43 -0400
“Vodka corrupts. Absolut vodka corrupts absolutely!” (Royal Canadian Air Farce)
commented 2015-07-06 19:29:48 -0400
I tink pilots drink to much wadka?
commented 2015-07-06 14:54:28 -0400
Um… you brought this to our attention because…?