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Russia Lost a MiG Because Its Ageing Kuznetsov Carrier Couldn’t Catch It

Peter Gronemann / Wikicommons

Technical issues, slow decision-making, and concerns about bureaucracy led a Russian Mig-29 fighter jet to crash into the Mediterranean Sea on Nov. 13, the authorities have established. 

A source in the military told Lenta.ru that the plane, which was returning to the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, was unable to land due to a problem with the carrier's arresting cable. 

"The broken arresting cable and the delay in correcting the fault served as the starting point of the event," the source said. 

"The pilot was forced to eject after running out of fuel because the command did not want to send the aircraft to an alternate airfield, hoping for a quick resolution of the problem on the ship's deck. If [the pilot] landed at Hmeymim (in Syria), or especially in Cyprus, then the incident would have to be reported and there would be a reprimand." 

"In the end, it's necessary to account for a fighter jet that costs two billion rubles," he added.

The Mig-29KR was part of the 100th separate naval fighter regiment. According to the Defense Ministry, the cause of the crash was a technical defect, the details of which were not disclosed. Later, a Russian military blog, citing its own sources, reported that the plane could not land on the carrier's deck due to a broken arresting cable.

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