UPDATED | A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-95 (“Bear”) strategic bomber went down on Tuesday at around UTC 06:50 in Siberia, the Ministry of Defence in Moscow stated. It also stated seven crew members bailed out using parachutes. Two more crew members died in the crash however.
According to the official statement the Tu-95 was unarmed, executing a routine training exercise when it encountered problems in mid-air about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the city of Khabarovsk in Siberia. The crash site is about 30 miles (50 km) from the city in an uninhabited area.
The Bear crash is the sixth of a Russian Air Force plane in as many weeks time and the second of a Tu-95 in roughly more than a week. On 6 July both pilots of a Bear Tu-95 were killed when the bomber ended off the runway at Ukrainka Airbase. Earlier a Sukhoi Su-24M went down, as well as two MiG-29s. A Su-34 landing went wrong near Moscow.
On Monday July 6th, a Tu-95 strategic bomber suffered an engine fire and overshot the landing strip at Ukrainka Airbase in the Russian Far East, where flights against Japan and the Western United States are conducted. Both pilots were killed.
The Tu-95s (Туполев Ту-95 in Russian) have been in service since 1956. Of the more than 500 built under Soviet Union times, 56 or 57 remain in service since today’s crash but many are likely not in airworthy condition. They are tasked with strategic bombing and are nuclear capable.
Source: Russian Ministry of Defence, with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Tupolev Tu-95 bomber of the Russian Air Force (Image © RAF)