Another Russian jet crashed during a training flight last week, marking the second fatal accident for Moscow’s air force in just three days.
An L-39 jet trainer was lost in Russia’s Krasnodar region, which borders the annexed Crimean peninsula, when attempting to land during a scheduled training flight on August 14, Moscow’s Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by state media. One of the crew members was killed, the government added, without specifying the cause of the crash.
On August 12, a Russian Su-30 fighter jet crashed in the Kaliningrad exclave in an uninhabited area during a training flight, killing all on board, a Russian military spokesperson told the Tass news agency. Authorities blamed it on a technical malfunction. On October 23, 2022, a Su-30 fighter jet smashed into a residential house in the Siberian town of Irkutsk, killing both pilots.
Throughout the war in Ukraine, the Russian air force has been plagued by aircraft losses unrelated to combat missions over the war-torn country, typically chalked up to equipment failures or pilot errors.
Newsweek found that at least 48 Russian aircraft have been destroyed in non-combat related incidents since the invasion February 24, 2022.
On the day of the invasion, a Su-25 jet was lost in an incident that a Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson described as a piloting mistake. The pilot successfully ejected and survived, state media reported at the time.
On the same day, Russia’s military said an An-26 transport aircraft crashed in the Voronezh region, killing its crew during a planned flight to transport military equipment. Moscow’s military said equipment failure was to blame. Another transport plane, an An-72, crashed and was reportedly badly damaged during test flight in July 2023 in Rostov.
In June 2022, another Su-25 was lost during a training exercise in the Rostov region, killing its pilot. Russian authorities also attributed it to a technical failure. In the same month, a Su-25 crashed in Belgorod, and an Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane was lost close to the western city of Ryazan during a training flight, killing half of its crew. In September 2022, a Su-25 crashed shortly after take-off in an undisclosed location in Crimea, according to footage circulated on social media, including posts commemorating the pilot who was killed.
In February 2023, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said a Russian jet had been lost in the Valuyki area, which is about 10 miles north of the Russia-Ukraine border. Russia’s Defense Ministry later said it was a Su-25.
The aircraft “crashed while returning to its airfield in the Belgorod Region after accomplishing a combat mission,” Moscow said in a statement, adding that the pilot had been killed. “According to preliminary data, a technical fault is a likely cause of the crash.”
Another Su-25 crashed into the Sea of Azov in the southwestern region of Krasnodar Krai on July 17, 2023, while performing a training flight near the city of Yeysk, officials in Russia’s South Military District said, adding that the incident might have been caused by an engine malfunction. The pilot died, state media later reported.
And in October, another Su-34 smashed into an apartment in the Russian port city of Yeysk, killing more than a dozen people. Russian state media said “two sea gulls were caught” in the engines of the Su-34, citing security agencies, although Moscow’s Defense Ministry said its engines “caught fire during the climb.”
Another Su-34 fell to the ground in Yenakievo, part of the Russian-occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine, in March 2023, with reports indicating no external involvement, according to Baza, a Russian Telegram news outlet.
In April 2022, a MiG-31 went down during a planned training flight over Russia’s Leningrad region, Russian outlet Kommersant reported. On October 1, 2022, a MiG-31 was destroyed in Crimea, before a MiG-31 crashed in Russia’s Primorsky region in December during a training flight, with the crew ejecting. It was, once again, blamed on a technical fault. In April 2023, another MiG-31 crashed in a “deserted area” of Russia’s Murmansk region.
A MiG-31 crashed in Kamchatka during a training flight on July 4, 2023, over Avacha Bay, state media reported.
Shortly after the start of the war, reports emerged about a fatal crash of a Ka-52 Alligator scout-attack helicopter on March 8 over Russia’s Rostov region. Within days, an Mi-8 transport helicopter may have been lost, but this report, and the possible location, is unconfirmed.
In March 2023, a Ka-52 reportedly crashed after catching a power line in Ukraine.
Three crew members onboard a Mi-8 were killed on December 16, 2022, in Russia’s eastern Siberian republic of Buryatia, after Russian state media said it “crashed when it landed at the airport” in Ulan-Ude.
Another Mi-8 was lost in Russia’s Altai region, also in Siberia, on July 27, 2023, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. At least six people were killed and seven injured, the outlet said, adding that the helicopter had reportedly struck an electrical pole.
Four more Mi-8s crashed in various locations in that period, including one in Murmansk on February 28, 2023; another in Magadan on December 19, 2022; one in Gatchina in July 2022; and one in Zabaikalye on May 1, 2022.
Both pilots were killed after a Mi-28 helicopter was lost due to a technical failure during a training flight in Crimea, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in mid-May 2023, Tass reported.
And a Russian Mi-24 crashed in Belarus, near Brest, on June 22, 2022.
An An-2 hit power cables in Russia’s Kuban region in July 2022, while another An-2 was recovered in Yakutiya the same month after disappearing off radar days earlier. An An-30 crashed in Yakutiya a month earlier.
The region was dubbed Russia’s “Bermuda Triangle” by the local press after a Mi-8 helicopter was also lost in the area in late June 2022.
An Ansat helicopter crashed in the Volgograd region on April 25, 2023, with one casualty reported.
Russia’s military suffered several confirmed losses during the brief but dramatic aborted Wagner Group mutiny in June 2023.
One Il-22M airborne command post was destroyed, according to Dutch open-source intelligence outlet Oryx. At least six helicopters, including a Ka-52 Alligator and an Mi-8 transport helicopter, were taken out during the short-lived armed rebellion.