Fourth Significant Accident for Russian Military Aviation in December.
A Russian Sukhoi Su-57, NATO reporting name “Felon”, twin-engine, 5th generation fighter is reported to have crashed yesterday near the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft plant in the Far East Khabarovsk Krai region of Russia. The first report of the accident, published early Tuesday morning by Russia’s official government sponsored RT News Network, reported that the pilot of the single-seat aircraft escaped without injuries and rescued by an Mi-8 helicopter. The aircraft was reported as participating in “factory trials” when the accident occurred.
According to RIA Novosti, the Su-57 that crashed belonged to the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant (KnAAZ) and not the Russian MoD. As @RALee85 and @pfc_joker have suggested, was it the first production version Su-57 that was supposed to be delivered before the end of the year? https://t.co/V0FtjAofQT
— Guy Plopsky (@GuyPlopsky) December 24, 2019
This latest aviation mishap caps off a bad month for Russian military aviation that follows closely behind a tragic fire aboard the country’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov. One person was reported killed in that accident at the time, but 2 additional persons were listed and “missing” and at least an additional 10 “injured”.
This latest crash of Russia’s most advanced tactical aircraft, the Su-57, also follows the Dec. 17, 2019, crash landing of a Tu-22M3 Backfire (whose crew members escaped without injuries ) and the crash of a Russian Mi-28 two-man gunship helicopter, NATO reporting name “Havoc”, that killed two crew members near the Korenovsk airfield in the Krasnodar region. As TheAviationist.com previously reported at the time of the accident, the Mi-28 is similar in configuration to the western AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The Moscow Times, citing an Interfax release of a Russian Defense Ministry’s official statement, reported that the Mi-28 gunship’s “flight took place without ammunition. There are no marks of destruction on the ground. Both pilots were killed”.
Russia’s advanced Su-57 tactical fighter program drew attention earlier from a June 2014 engine fire that happened during testing. That accident involved the fifth prototype of the Su-57, then referred to as the “T-50” in prototype stage.
Russia has briefly deployed to the Su-57 to Syria twice on a limited operational trial. Since then, the Russians have also sought an export customer for a new, multi-role version of the Su-57.