Reports from sources close to Combat Aircraft confirm that a Russian Navy Mikoyan MiG-29KR/KUBR naval fighter crashed in the Mediterranean during operations from the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov yesterday afternoon, November 13.
The aircraft apparently came down close to the carrier on its return from a mission flown over Syria. Wreckage of the aircraft has been recovered, and the pilot was picked up by a Russian Navy search and rescue helicopter. There is currently no confirmation regarding his condition.
Initial indications are that the aircraft was a two-seat MiG-29KUBR version. Operated by the 100th Independent Shipborne Fighter Aviation Regiment, a total of four MiG-29KR/KUBRs were understood to be on board the carrier.
If confirmed, the news would deal a significant blow to the debut combat deployment of the Admiral Kuznetsov, which was expected to commence air strikes against rebel-held areas of Aleppo, as the Syrian regime pushes for the final liberation of the city, with Russian air support.
The deployment of the carrier to the eastern Mediterranean is expected to allow Russian Navy Aviation to evaluate and test its recently delivered MiG-29KR/KUBR multi-role fighters, as well as its newly modernized Sukhoi Su-33 shipborne fighters.
Video posted on social media suggests that elements of the MiG-29KR/KUBR contingent were flying over Syria as of November 12.
UPDATE: After Combat Aircraft broke this story, the story was confirmed to Fox News by two unnamed US intelligence officials.
Full details of the Admiral Kuznetsov deployment and the embarked air group will appear in the January issue of Combat Aircraft.
MiG-29KR (MiG-29KUBR*) specification
|Wing area||38.00 square meters|
|Normal take-off||18,550kg (18,650kg)|
|Maximum speed at sea level||1,400km/h|
|Maximum speed at high altitude||2,200km/h (2,100km/h)|
|Ferry range on internal fuel||2,000km (1,700km)|
|Ferry range with three drop tanks||3,000km (2,700km)|
* MiG-29KUB data provided in parentheses where these differ