Monday, December 5, 2016

Russia loses 2nd fighter jet in Syria

A Russian Su-33 Flanker warplane crashed off the coast of Syria on Monday, the second plane in less than a month to plunge into the Mediterranean Sea. The Su-33 fighter fell off the deck of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov on landing because a cable in the arresting gear snapped. The pilot ejected and was not injured.

Last month, a Russian MiG-29K fighter jet crashed while attempting to make an emergency landing on the aircraft carrier shortly after take-off. The Admiral Kuznetsov has a history of on-board accidents. The only aircraft carrier in the Russian navy does not have a catapult system, and the jets it carries must launch off a ramp, limiting the load of fuel and weapons that they can carry.
The carrier was designed to protect home waters, not for strike missions, and only carries 15 planes. In service since the mid-1980s the ship has experienced many problems. In 2012 it broke down in the Bay of Biscay and had to be towed thousands of miles to its home port near Murmansk. It had a particularly bad year in 2009, spilling hundreds of metric tons of oil off the coast of Ireland and catching fire near Turkey, an accident in which one sailor died.

The vessel lumbers along belching black smoke, accompanied by tugboats standing ready to tow because of it's frequent breakdowns.