Second Russian war plane crashes on Mediterranean based carrier

Second Russian war plane crashes on Mediterranean based carrier
Another war plane based on Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier has crashed, with reports suggesting that Moscow is questioning the use of the vessel in the Syria war.
3 min read
05 December, 2016
The Russian carrier was meant to be a game changed in the war [Getty]
A second Russian war plane from the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has crashed while trying to land on the Mediterranean based vessel.

The Su-33 hit the water on its second attempt to land on the carrier on Friday, when it missed the wires during landing, The Aviationist reported.

The Russian pilot successfully ejected from the plane before being picked up by a helicopter.

"After performing a combat mission over Syria a Sukhoi-33 fighter-jet overran the runway while trying to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. The arresting cable's rupture was the reason," the defence ministry said in a statement.

"Deck aircraft keep performing their missions," the statement continued.

Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov is the navy's only aircraft carrier, and its deployment to the eastern Mediterranean was meant to be a game changer in the Syria war.

So far, massive Russian bombardments of East Aleppo and other rebel areas have helped Syrian regime forces surge through the northern city, but the carrier itself has been set back with problems.

In mid-November, another Russian war plane based on-board the Admiral Kuznetsov also crashed on landing.

Meanwhile, media reports have suggested that Russia has given up on using the carrier for operations in Syria, and that the reliability of the vessel was always in question.

Su-33 and Mig-29's previously based on the Admiral Kuznetsov were spotted at the tarmac of Moscow's Syrian base in Latakia, hinting that operations had been switched to the land-based air field, Business Insider reported.

Iran has also indicated it might allow Russian aircraft to use an airbase in the west of the country for strikes in Syria.

Analysts believe that this was a sign that Moscow was looking for alternative locations for its war planes.

Moscow has denied these reports on Monday, saying the Admiral Kuznetsov was fully operational and "self-sufficient.

"All voyages by our groups - including the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier-led group - are planned in a way that lets them remain totally self-sufficient and independent from coastal logistics," the Russian navy's Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Korolyov said according to Moscow state media.

Russia entered the war in September 2015, launching bombing raids on Syrian rebels from its air base in Latakia and helping the embattled President Bashar al-Assad turn back the tide after a string of defeats.

The Russian aircraft carrier arrived off the coast of Syria on 12 November after reportedly suffering technical problems during its voyage meaning it had to be tugged to the Eastern Mediterranean by another vessel.

The Admiral Kuznetsov was meant to play a key role in the regime's offensive on Aleppo, which has so far pushed rebels into the southern quarters of East Aleppo but resulted in mass carnage of the city's civilian population.

Russian bombing has also resulted in thousands of civilian deaths, according to NGOs, with homes, hospitals and schools believed to be deliberately targeted by Moscow's air force.