A Tupolev Tu-95MS “Bear H” strategic bomber has crashed during a training flight near Khabarovsk, marking the sixth incident involving a Russian air force aircraft since the beginning of June.
According to reports from Russian media, the aircraft crashed at 16:50 local time on 14 July, with all seven on board managing to escape via parachute. A search for the crew members – using an Antonov AN-12 and Mil Mi-8 helicopter – is believed to be under way.
The crash is reported to be the result of equipment failure – specifically engine failure – on board the Tu-95 as the crew conducted an unarmed training sortie in the southeastern area of Russia. The Tu-95 is powered by four Kuznetsov NK-12MP turboprop engines.
This is the sixth Russian aircraft that has crashed since the beginning of June, and the seventh since the beginning of the year, Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows.
Ahead of the 14 July event, these incidents included: a Sukhoi Su-24 fighter that crashed on 11 February; an RAC MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-34 that crashed in separate incidents on 4 June; a Tu-95 crash on 8 June; a MiG-29 on 3 July; and an Su-24 on 6 July.
Ascend shows that there are now 278 Su-24s left in service, 251 MiG-29s, 58 Su-34s and 41 Tu-95s.
The fleet of Bear Hs is now understood to be grounded, pending further investigation, Russian news agency TASS quotes the Russian ministry of defence as saying.