Russian Air Force Su-34 Fullback Runway Excursion Incident

A Su-34 involved in a runway overrun at Khurba airbase, Russia.

On Jul. 31, a Russian Air Force Su-34 veered off the runway at Khurba airbase, near Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in the far east part of Russia.

The aircraft had just landed after a night training mission and the incident was caused, according to unofficial sources, because of a drag chute failure. The aircraft was not damaged by the excursion (500 meters into the grass).

Noteworthy, the bort number of the aircraft was blurred out in the photograph, something has never (at least to our knowledge) happened in the past.

Entered in active service with the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2014, the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback is a two-seat strike fighter with a maximum range of 4,000 km, a payload of up to 12,000 kg on 12 hardpoints, the ability to carry R-77 and and R-73 missiles, a 30 mm GSh-30-1 cannon, and a Khibiny ECM suite.

The aircraft uses a drag (or drogue) chute to reduce the landing roll, a system used by many Soviet-era as well as Russian jets. Here’s how we described it some weeks ago:

The system consists of a single or several parachutes placed in a special pod located in the rear section of the fuselage. The chute is ejected with the use of a smaller parachute, spring-driven or compressed air based system. After the aircraft comes to a halt, the chute is separated to prevent the aircraft from being dragged on the runway. Moreover, the chute often comes with a safety system, with a ring that breaks if the braking system is deployed at a speed which is too high. In the case above probably the speed was low enough to keep the said element intact and the chute stayed in its place. Notably, the drag created by drogue chutes is lower than the one experienced in case of the conventional drop-parachutes in order to prevent damage to the aircraft.

Runway excursions can occur both on landing and take off. You may remember the incident (with video) to a Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 “Backfire” on Sept. 15, 2017 when the heavy bomber, said to be near maximum take-off weight, ran off the end of the runway at Shaikavka Airbase during Zapad 2017 exercise.

Image credit: H/T Alert 5.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.