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Mystery Losses in the Russian Air Force
September 21, 2005
Russia lost two warplanes in two weeks this month, and under somewhat mysterious circumstances. On September 5th, a Su-33 went over the side when the arresting cable snapped while the aircraft was landing on Russias only aircraft carrier. On September 17th, seven Su-27s were flying over the Baltic, towards Kaliningrad. The fighters were accompanied by an A-50 "AWACS" aircraft, and were engaged in a military exercise. The scenario was that NATO had attacked Russia, and had knocked out the air traffic control facilities at Kaliningrad. The A-50 and Su-27s were reinforcements. Suddenly, one of the Su-27s veered off into Lithuanian air space, and crashed near the coast, just short of Kaliningrad, some 190 kilometers northwest of the capital. The pilot ejected, landed safely, and was picked up by the police. All this happened in daylight and clear weather. The pilot, a 36 year old major with a lot of flying experience, said he had a problem with his navigation equipment. Lithuania is conducting an investigation. The other seven Russian aircraft landed safely in Kaliningrad, and apparently no one contacted Lithuanian military or civil aviation authorities during the incident. Russian and Lithuanian authorities are trying to sort out what actually happen.