MiG-31 interceptor jet crashes in central Russia

Instructor and trainee on scheduled training flight ejected successfully

A Russian MiG-31 interceptor jet crashed in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast in central Russia, media reported.

“On September 19, at about 03.30 p.m. Moscow time, a MiG-31 fighter jet of the Aviation Staff Training Center crashed during a planned training flight at one of the military airfields in the Nizhny Novgorod region; both pilots successfully ejected,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement, Sputnik reported.

The pilots were “promptly taken to safety by the search and rescue service. Their lives are not in danger,” Tass reported the Defense Ministry as saying.

The aircraft was on a scheduled training flight and was not armed, RIA Novosti reported. It was crewed by an instructor and a trainee, RT reported.

The aircraft crashed near the town of Kulebaki, around 300 km (185 miles) east of Moscow, Tass reported.

According to Sputnik, the plane crashed around 17 km (10.5 miles) from the air base

The fighter exploded after the crash and was completely burned, a law enforcement source told RIA Novosti.

The Defense Ministry said preliminary data indicated the cause of the accident was a technical malfunction.

The Mikoyan MiG-31 (NATO reporting name: Foxhound) is a long-range supersonic interceptor aircraft based on the earlier MiG-25. Serial production began in 1979 and ended in 1994, and almost 700 were built.

It has a crew of two, with a weapons systems officer sitting behind the pilot.

According to RIA Novosti, more than 250 MiG-31 aircraft of several variants are in service with Russia’s armed forces.

In May, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said ten Russian MiG-31 fighter jets adapted to carry the new Kinzhal hypersonic missile had “gone on test combat duty.”

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