Russian fighter jet crashes in country’s Far EastMarch 20th, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by admin
Moscow, March 20 (RIA Novosti) The Russian Air Force has suspended all its Su-25 strike aircraft flights following a fatal crash in the country’s Far East early Thursday, an Air Force spokesman said. A Su-25 Frogfoot close-support aircraft crashed Thursday in the Primorye Territory, some 143 km from the port of Vladivostok. The pilot died in the crash.
“Today, at around 3.33 Moscow time (0:33 GMT), a Su-25 aircraft crashed during a training flight near the Chernigovka airbase, 143 km from Vladivostok,” Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.
“The commander of the Russian Air Force has ordered the suspension of Su-25 flights,” he said.
An investigation into the cause of the incident has been launched and a special investigation commission has flown to the crash site.
“According to preliminary reports, the plane developed technical problems during live firing exercises,” the spokesman said.
The Su-25 is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau to provide close air support to ground troops.
The aircraft is reported to have experienced a number of accidents in the operational service caused by systems failures attributed to the salvo firing of weapons.
In the wake of these incidents, use of its main armament, the 240-mm S-24 missile, has been prohibited. In its place, the FAB-500 500-kg high-explosive bomb became the primary armament.
Thursday’s incident is the first Su-25 crash in the past two years. The most recent crash involving a Su-25 plane occurred in June 2006 in southwest Russia near the border with Ukraine. The pilot died in the crash.
On May 21, 2005, a Su-25 crashed in Tajikistan. The pilot managed to eject from the plane and an investigation later established that the accident had been caused by technical problems.
The Su-25 aircraft has been in service with the Russian Air Force for more than 25 years. In 1999, Russia adopted a programme to upgrade part of its aging Su-25 fleet. The air force received the first six modernised planes, Su-25SM, in December 2006.