Russian long-range bomber crash-lands during training mission

Russian long-range bomber crash-lands in rural area after suffering engine malfunction during training mission

  • Tu-22M3 bomber suffered engine malfunction while flying over southern Russia
  • Crewmen managed to land in a field in Astrakhan region, defence officials said 
  • Supersonic bomber was not armed at the time of the crash, spokesman added 
  • Comes after fire on board aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov killed one last week 

A long-range Russian bomber has crash-landed in the country’s south after suffering an engine malfunction, the defence ministry has said.

The Tu-22M3 bomber, known by its NATO code-name Backfire, landed on its belly in the Astrakhan region, 780 miles south of Moscow, on Monday.

Two crewmen brought the bomber down in a field away from major towns and cities and were not seriously hurt in the crash, a government spokesman said.

A Russian Tu-22-M3 bomber has crash-landed in a field after it suffered an engine malfunction during a training mission in the south of the country (file image)

The bomber was taking part in a training mission and was not armed when the engine failed over the Astrakhan region on Monday, a government spokesman said

The bomber was taking part in a training mission and was not armed at the time of the crash, the spokesman added.

Supersonic Tu-22M3 bombers entered active service in 1989 as an updated version of the Cold War-era Tu-22M, which began flying missions in 1972.

Tu-22M3 bombers have taken part in bombing campaigns in Syria, flying from their bases in Russia.

The crash comes less than a week after a major fire on board Russia’s only aircraft carrier – the Admiral Kuznetsov – killed at least one person, injured 10 and left another two missing.

A welding accident on board the diesel-powered carrier, which is currently undergoing improvement works in the Arctic Circle port city of Murmansk, is thought to have caused the blaze on Thursday last week.

It took firefighters until Friday to bring the fire under control, with the extent of damage to the vessel not made clear.

It comes after Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, caught fire last week – leaving at least one dead and 10 injured

The Kuznetsov is diesel-powered and dates back to the Cold War, entering service in 1985

Thick black smoke was seen pouring from an upper deck in footage broadcast on Russian television.

Captain Viktor Izmailov – who was in charge of repairs – was reportedly ‘unaccounted for’ in the incident after going below deck to check on the condition of the ship. 

The Admiral Kuznetsov has been plagued by breakdowns and setbacks since its launch in 1985.

The massive blaze follows a 70-ton crane crashing on to the Admiral Kuznetsov’s deck in October 2018 when a mammoth floating dock holding the ship sank.

The crane left a hole of 215 square feet, and the loss of the dock significantly slowed down repairs on the carrier since the navy lacked another of comparable size.

Today’s fire will further push back the work to fit the ship with modern control systems and new weapons. The aircraft carrier had been undergoing repairs for more than two years in Murmansk.

The repairs were expected to be completed by the end of 2020, with the warship rejoining the navy in 2021. 

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