A Russian Su-27 “Flanker” fighter jet crashed into the Black Sea near Feodosiya, Crimea late on Wednesday, according to a statement by the country’s Ministry of Defence.
The jet was reportedly conducting a routine flight when the accident occurred amid bad weather conditions.
“Around 08.10 pm Moscow time on March 25, a Su-27 fighter flying a scheduled mission over the Black Sea at a distance of about 50 kilometers from the town of Feodosia, disappeared from radar screens. An emergency radio beacon signal was detected in the area,” the statement reads.
The fate of the pilot is currently unknown. RT reported that the military has detected a signal from the pilot’s emergency beacon.
A search and rescue operation has been initiated for the pilot. A rescue team includes an An-26 aircraft and a Mi-8 helicopter, along with a frigate and several civilian ships.
“The search for the pilot in the area of the operation is complicated by difficult weather conditions”, the ministry statement said.
Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO reporting name: Flanker) is a Soviet-origin twin-engine supermaneuverable fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi.
The Su-27 was designed for air superiority missions, and subsequent variants are able to perform almost all aerial warfare operations. It was designed with the Mikoyan MiG-29 as its complement. The jet was intended as a direct competitor for the large United States fourth-generation fighters such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle
The Su-27 entered service with the Soviet Air Forces in 1985. The primary role was long-range air defence against American strategic bombers, protecting the Soviet coast from aircraft carriers and flying long-range fighter escort for Soviet heavy bombers.
There are several related developments of the Su-27 design. The Su-30 is a two-seat, dual-role fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions. The Su-33 ‘Flanker-D’ is a naval fleet defense interceptor for use on aircraft carriers. Further versions include the side-by-side two-seat Su-34 ‘Fullback’ strike/fighter-bomber variant, and the Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ improved air superiority and multi-role fighter. The Shenyang J-11 is a Chinese licence-built version of the Su-27.