‘Catastrophic Failure’: What Caused Russia’s Brand New Su-30 Fighter Jet Lose Control & Nose-Dive Into Building?

In little over a week, Russia lost its second fighter jet, Su-30, to an uncanny crash when it was carrying out a massive aerial bombardment of Ukrainian cities and battling in the Kherson region.

On October 23, an apartment building in Irkutsk, Siberia, was struck by a Russian Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker multi-role fighter, killing both crew members and starting a massive fire on the ground.

Su-30 is a two-seat, twin-engine, highly agile fighter aircraft produced by Sukhoi Aviation Corporation of Russia. The Su-30s are manufactured at the neighboring Irkutsk Aviation Plant, where the jet is reported to have just taken off.

According to the official Telegram channel of United Aircraft Corporation, Russia’s quasi-state-owned consolidated aircraft production and development conglomerate, the Flanker crashed at around 5:30 p.m. local time during an acceptance flight.

State-owned news agency TASS said that the Su-30SM was not transporting weapons at the time of the crash.

The press office of the Ministry of Emergency Situations’ head office in Irkutsk Oblast stated that the Su-30 plane crashed during a test flight. “The plane fell within the city limits, in a private housing area. Fire and rescue units are working on the scene; the information is being clarified,” the message read.

According to the department, the Russian Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case under Article 263 of the Russian Criminal Code for the Su-30 multifunctional fighter crash in Irkutsk.

The accident is significant as it comes after a Su-34 crashed into a civilian building killing several civilians. On October 17, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that one of its Su-34 fighter bombers crashed in Yeysk in southern Russia after one of its engines caught fire. The bomber reportedly fell into a residential building’s courtyard.

At the time, the Russian Defense Ministry stated, “The plane’s fuel caught fire after the Su-34 crashed into the courtyard of a residential building.”

The crash of Su-34 had also occurred during a training flight from a military airfield in the Southern Military District, as previously noted by EurAsian Times.

These aircraft losses come as Russia’s Air Force loses pilots and aviation equipment due to its full-fledged conflict with Ukraine.

In addition, the crash of the Su-30 triggered a massive power outage in several residential homes in the vicinity of the crash, which is ironic given that Russian aerial bombardment has been overwhelmingly aimed at destroying Kyiv’s energy infrastructure, causing widespread bombardment.

Sukhoi Su-30 Russia

Su-30 Nosedived… Again!

The recent crash is different from the previous one in more ways than one. The initial video on the internet showed that the Su-30 fighter jet had nosedived into the building.

Veteran Fighter Pilot Squadron Leader Vijainder K Thakur told EurAsian Times, “The plane was on an acceptance test after being built, which means it was a brand new plane.

A catastrophic control failure appears likely. Whether it was pilot initiated crash or a problem with a newly manufactured aircraft can only be determined by a Court of Inquiry. There is likely to be speculation that Russia is rushing production, and the crash was likely caused by poor quality control. However, that would be pure speculation.”

It is pertinent to note that the Russian Aerospace Force has lost several fighter jets in the course of this war, some to crashes while others after being shot down by Ukrainian fighters, MANPADS, or surface-to-air missiles.

According to the latest Ukrainian estimate, Russia has lost 270 military jets. Therefore, the speculation about the country producing fighters on a war footing could hold some water.

The veteran also said in a tweet that: “A possible reason for the crew’s failure to eject could have been the incapacitating negative G experienced by the crew as the Su-30SM flying an acceptance check sortie suddenly dived sharply.”

Negative G leads to the pooling of blood in the head and the swelling of the face that eventually makes the lower eyelids forced over the eyes.

The Su-30 is a multipurpose fighter of the “4+” generation, developed by the Sukhoi Experimental Design Bureau and mass-produced at the Irkutsk Aircraft Plant.

It is also worth mentioning that earlier, an Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKI aircraft nosedived and crashed on April 30, 2009, near IAF’s Pokhran range in Rajasthan after taking off from Pune.

The pilots reportedly lost control of the aircraft after inadvertently tripping its Fly by Wire system. Therefore, it is not the first time the aircraft has suffered such an accident.