Russian Mig-29 Crashes Near Aircraft Carrier Off Syrian Coast

Update: Sputnik provides the following update on the Mig-29 crash:

Russian MIG-29K jet crashes in the Mediterranean Sea after taking off from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

 

The pilot of the MIG-29 fighter jet ejected, his life is not in danger, the Russian Defense Ministry said. According to the ministry, technical fault was the reason for the incident during a training mission.

 

"An aviation accident with carrier-based fighter MIG-29K occured during exercise flights as a result of a technical fault during the approach landing a few kilometers from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser."

 

The Russian group of warships in the Mediterranean continues scheduled activities after the incident.

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With the Russian Syrian naval flotilla having arrived off the coast of Syria, and set to launch airborne missions against ISIS targets in Syria with the support of strategic Russian Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers, an unexpected twist took place when a Russian fighter jet crashed in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after launching from its aircraft carrier near the coast of Syria Sunday, Fox News reports citing two US officials.

While unclear if they were part of a tactical mission or conducting an exercise, shortly after three Russian MiG-29 fighter jets took off from their Soviet-era aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, and flew in the direction of Syria, one of the Russian jets appeared to have mechanical difficulties and turned around in the direction of the aircraft carrier. The Russian jet then allegedly splashed down in the water while attempting to land. A Russian rescue helicopter picked up a parachute and the pilot. The pilot's status was unclear, U.S. intelligence officials said.

The news of the crash came a day after state media claimed Russia was preparing its Tu-95 and Tu-160 long-range bombers for imminent strike missions in Syria. 

The Russian Tu-95 “Bear” and Tu-160 “Blackjack,” according to their NATO call signs, have been operating in Syria since 2015 and are based at Engels Air Force base in southern Russia near Kazakhstan.  The Blackjack is a supersonic variable-sweep wing long range bomber and more advanced than its 1950s-era Bear counterpart, which is propeller driven.  

Unlike in prior weeks under the Obama administration, when every Russian fighter jet sortie above Syria was scrutinized under a microscope, in recent days a near radio silence from the western media has enveloped the latest military deployments over Syria. We hope that this shift in coverage, moving the media's focus away from the proxy war in Syria, is a good thing.