Two Russian Su-34 fighter jets collided during a training flight. Both aircraft suffered extensive damage and one of them lost a wing.
The incident happened in Lipetsk Region, western Russia. According to Russian TV channel REN, the two Su-34s grazed each other a first time, but it is when pilots tried to correct their trajectory that a more serious collision happened.
The cockpit, one engine, and fuselage of one of the planes were damaged while the other lost part of its wing, along with the electronic countermeasures system. Debris was ingested by an engine. Despite the damage, both jets managed to land after the incident and no injury was reported.
The collision appears to have been caused by a pilots’ mistake, who lost visual contact, according to a source quoted by TASS. “The pilots’ error resulted in the collision over the Lipetsk Region, a special commission is now studying the details of the accident, which will particularly determine the extent of responsibility of each of the crews,” the source said.
Developed in the 1980s, the Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback’ is a fighter-bomber capable of conducting strike missions on air, sea and ground targets. It is operated by a crew of two people sitting side-by-side.
It is the second incident involving the aircraft this year. On January 18, 2019, two Sukhoi Su-34 strike aircraft of the Russian Air Force crashed into the Sea of Japan during a training flight near Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Only one of four pilots managed to eject and was rescued.