Russian 5th generation Sukhoi Su-57 “Felon” Crashes During Testing, Pilot Reported Safe.

File photo of Russian Su-57, NATO codename "Felon". (Photo: TheAviationist)

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.

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 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.

About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on,, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.