Home » Aviation » Russians Blame MiG-29K Crash on Broken Arrestor Cable, Catastrophic Engine Failure


Russians Blame MiG-29K Crash on Broken Arrestor Cable, Catastrophic Engine Failure

MiG-29 K taking off in 2012.

MiG-29 K taking off in 2012.

A combination of faults on Russia’s carrier and an unexpected total engine shutdown led to a Russian pilot ditching his fighter in the Mediterranean Sea last week, read a translation of a Monday Russian press report.

The Mikoyan MiG-29K that crashed on Nov. 13 was part of a trio of fighters sortied from Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov for operations over Syria, USNI News reported last week.

Following the mission – armed reconnaissance runs over targets near Aleppo, USNI News understands — the fighters headed back to the carrier to land, read a translation of a report from Gazeta.ru.

“Upon completion of their flight missions, the fighters were returning to the aircraft carrier. In this situation, landings were to occur with an interval of three-to-four minutes,” read the translation.
“The first fighter landed without incident.”

However, the second fighter snapped one of the arresting wires during landing with the hook eventually catching on reserve arresting cable, the report said.

admiral-kuznetsov_ukmodWith the deck fouled from the cable break, the third MiG – which was on approach closely behind the second fighter – was told to circle back into a holding pattern while the crew of Admiral Kuznetsov cleared the deck for the next landing.

“While in the holding area, both of the fighter’s engines shut down,” read the translation.
“A preliminary explanation is that they were no longer receiving fuel. ln such situations, a fighter falls like a rock, and the pilot has only one option — to eject.”

NATO ships monitoring the carrier offered assistance that was declined by the Russians, a NATO official told USNI News last week.

Following last week’s crash, the Russians continued operating fighters from Admiral Kuznetsov and used planes from the carrier to strike targets held by rebels opposed to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced last week.

The Kremlin has attempted to improve Russian carrier aviation over the last few years after decades of atrophy.

“A few years ago there were stories they were largely contractors as pilots,” Eric Wertheim — naval analyst and author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World — told USNI News on last week.
“They’ve been trying to pass that skill on but there’s not the ability to do that because the pool is small and they’re not a lot of facilities available.”

Russian Navy cruiser Peter the Great

Russian Navy cruiser Peter the Great

A land-based facility to train Russian naval aviators that was set to open in 2015 has been continually delayed.

The carrier – technically an aircraft carrying guided missile cruiser – is part of a four ship Russian naval force that deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean that includes cruiser Peter the Great and two Udaloy-class guided missile destroyers. The surface action group is also operating with one of Russia’s newest frigates — Admiral Grigorovichthat launched cruise missiles as part of the Russian offensive against targets in Aleppo.

As of Monday morning, the ships were operating south of Cyprus, a U.S. defense official told USNI News.

  • CharleyA

    So the Mig ran out of gas…. No organic tanking / recovery tanker in Russian service?

    • NavySubNuke

      That is how it reads to me as well — although that both of your engines “were no longer receiving fuel” probably reads better than admitting you ran out of gas.

    • Mr.T

      No likely as air base is 4 minutes away in Latakia

      • Secundius

        I’m Sort Of Curious? If there was a “Secure” Russian Airbase within 4-minutes Traveling Distance by a MiG-29K in Kheimim (Latakia). What NEED Was there for the “Admiral Kuznetsov” Heavy “Aircraft-Carrying” Missile Cruiser to be off the Syrian Coast. A “Secure Airbase” with Virtually Limitless Fuel and Weapons. And a Aircraft Carrying Cruiser, with “LIMITED” (36) Aircraft (NOW Less 3 MiG-29K’s), Fuel and Weapons. Is it your Trying to “Bloody” the Crew for Something Else? Some Country that is Located in the Black Sea…

    • jack anderson

      no “BINGO”?

  • On Dre

    So the Mig 29s were not known for their long legs. But damn! Are they at their range limit in Syria?

    • Jure

      Not true anymore. Look up the differences between early Mig 29 and modern Mig 29. Modern Mig29 is almost as bis as Su 27 and carries a lot more fuel and payload. Originaly Mig 29 was a light fighter, but now it is classified as medium. It has grown in weight and abilities 🙂

      • Nice Marmot

        That’s all true, but how much fuel can it take off with in 200 meters?

        • Jure

          Dont know. But I am sure they do the necessary calculations to insure it has plenty of fuel and weapons. Just as british harries did in their days. This is just US antipropaganda, that Kuznetsov is useless, because of smoke anf ski jump. Sure the ship had its share of problems, but noone except russia knows in what state the engine room currently is and ski jump is tested and vaiable system for lunching planes from carriers. Do you think that russians couldnt build a steam catapult if they considered it better for their needs?

          • Clarence Spangle ϟϟ

            I agree for the most part… given the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania, anything authorized for publication or for public release is unreliable, slanted toward a political end, and of no tactical value.

            I never met a Russian afraid of a fight, no matter how lopsided the odds.

            When the Bible talks about Samson slaying 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an áss, it wasn’t talking about the blabbering ásshole John Kerry.

          • Secundius

            The US Secret Service Privacy Act of 1974, Protects ALL Information of the President of the United States. No Matter what type of Media (Print, Electronic, Photographs, Telephone, Cellular, etc.). The Secret Service is Freedom of Information Act PROOF, and Can Not be Subpoena for the Information…

          • Attm Motob

            No problem. hrc put it on her private server.

          • Secundius

            No Need Now! Trump made a Press Conference Today, claiming No Charges to be Filed or Anything Else…

          • Attm Motob

            That did not stop the press from getting Nixon’s private tapes.

          • Secundius

            Nixon Tapes Broke in April 1974, Several Months before the Act was Ratified. And Act “Wasn’t” Retroactive…

          • Danny Lewis

            Well, it looks like they need to bone up on their “necessary calculations”. This appears to be a training cruise to see what bugs they have to work out, which appears to be quite a few right now. They just happen to be bombing targets in Syria too. I’m sure one of the ships that is shadowing this force has all the video they need for a true assessment of what happened.

    • Tired_Libertarian

      Everything that I have read on the MiGs that the Kuznetsov carries indicates that they can only launch with a severe weight penalty. More weapons equal less fuel. I would love to see how much ordinance they can drop in Syria.

      • publius_maximus_III

        Needs a catapult.

        • Tired_Libertarian

          I am actually surprised that the Russians couldn’t develop a catapult like carriers in the 50’s and 60’s had where there was a harness that attached the aircraft to the catapult shuttle. No need for bulked up dual wheeled nose gear. The A-4 Skyhawk was carrier launched and it had a single wheeled, spindly nose gear.

          • Jure

            So i guess you are a russian military anval engineer, tasked with building their carrier? No?!? Youre just some US fanboy? Nahhh, that cant be…. BTW i guess that Royal Navy too cant build freaking steam catapults. Only US and french navy are super ahead of time… What a joke…. BTW US planes need stupid disposable ceramic hooks before catapulting. No need for that with a ski jump.

          • Tired_Libertarian

            I suppose you know the exact reason that the Russians have not equipped their carrier with a catapult. No? Why no? I posed the question as to WHY the Russian carrier have not be so equipped. But you can’t answer that question can you. Instead you just attack a person just for asking it.

            WHERE did you get information that US carrier planes need a disposable ceramic hook?

            BTW it was the British that developed the steam catapult as we know it today AND the angled flight deck. They retired their CATOBAR carrier because of costs and didn’t see a need to develop a new CATOBAR aircraft when they had the Harrier. The F-35 was supposed to be available before now and they saw the STVOL version as being more cost effective. Thus the change from CATOBAR to STVOL in their new carrier class. When you consider that all of the British CATOBAR experience is gone and that they would have to train an entire cadre of pilots and crew members for CATOBAR operations it makes sense. But I guess that sense common or otherwise is something that you might be lacking. Keep it up, I need a good laugh.

      • publius_maximus_III

        BTW, it’s ordnance, not ordinance. (I’ve already been reprimanded.)

        • Tired_Libertarian

          Thank you.

        • Blue Owl

          Like the new verb in the article: to sortie!!!!!

          • publius_maximus_III

            An infinitive, right, Blue? Sortie, sortied, will sortie, was sortieing, will have sortied. English, the breakfast of champions! Next to math and art, my favorite subject in school.

          • Tired_Libertarian

            Loved math, hated English. I guess that’s why I got into engineering.

      • musimann

        a lot more than your big mouth can. Or are you partial to Obama’s little terrorist rebels? I see the US Navy flying air cover in Lybia and Syria for terrorists rats. Hope you are real proud of your jackass selves.

        • Tired_Libertarian

          I think you skipped your meds again. I would normally say that you needed a puppy or something but I think your self-loathing would kill it.

          It’s OK though. People like you give me a chuckle.

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            or chocolates as you people are doing post election

          • Tired_Libertarian

            I didn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump though I did see Trump as the lesser of two evils. That should sum up my view of Hillary Clinton as President.

      • Terry Ellsworth

        They can take off fully loaded, only at the #3- the MTOW is 54,000 lb, and the T/W ratio is 0.97. The Sukhois have to launch from the #3 with an 6,000 lb penalty.
        However, the MiG-29K doesn’t have that much for a combat radius.

  • RobM1981

    I’m guessing, and this is just a guess, that the circling MiG passed through the stack gas from the Kuz, and probably ingested 19 pounds of soot, causing a flame-out…

    • publius_maximus_III

      They would turn into the wind for takeoffs and landings. Just follow the glideslope plume.

    • disqus_j5Nj3oxoii

      I like that theory best. Most believable also.

  • sferrin

    RAN OUT OF GAS? Don’t they have divert plans?

  • Secundius

    That not Exactly what “The War Zone” accounting of Incident had to Say. Their Version, claim the First plane while attempting to Land Caught a Wire which Sheared Off the Tailhook of the Aircraft and Severed the Arresting Cable. The Second Plane Landed and got Fouled in the Severed Arresting Cable. And the Third Aircraft “Simply” Ran Out of Fuel and Both Engines DIED of Power Loss.

    They also Claimed that Naval Carrier Training is Severely “Lacking” within the Russian Federation Navy…

  • John B. Morgen

    The United States Navy has lost both aircraft and some pilots off the flight deck while trying to land. How! It’s the Russian Navy’s turn to lose both aircraft, and maybe some pilots by crashing off the flight deck while trying to land. On the job training—Russians—live and learn like we did, after the British Royal Navy.

    • Secundius

      Apparently to the Russians, it called “On the Job As You Go Training”. Or “Making It Up As You Go Along Training”. Or Trying to Ram a 2×4 through a 1-inch Diameter Hole…

      • musimann

        A real douchbag response………

        • Secundius

          Sort of Reminds Me of the Old WW2 Luftwaffe Training Film, of the ‘Senior’ Luftwaffe Pilot just after Surviving is First Combat Sortie. Training the Pilot Trainee of the Me-262, where the ‘Experienced Jet Pilot’ Stood on the Left Wing Root. While the Trainee in Cockpit was Taxiing Down Runway, While being taught the ‘Rudimentaries’ of Flying the Me-262 just before Trainee Pilot Makes His First Solo Flight. And Then going to Encounter His First Combat Sortie in a Plane that he Just Trained On Moments Earlier…

          • Jure

            You do know there is a 2 seat training version of Mig 29 K, don’t you?…

          • Secundius

            If your referring to the MiG-29KBU (Product 9.47)? Yes. And as far a I know there AREN’T Any in Service with the Russian Federation Navy. ALL in the RuAF…

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            With 50 Mustangs waiting in the landing pattern,,

      • John B. Morgen

        I call that “creative writing.”

        • Secundius

          At the Very Least it Identifies the “Troll’s”…

          • John B. Morgen

            That’s the way to bait them out into the open.

  • publius_maximus_III

    The photo at the begninning of an earlier USNI article seemed to show only three arresting wires instead of the five favored by U.S. carriers. Might there be a lesson learned there? Also, if someone was low on fuel, why weren’t they the first in line to land?

    • Secundius

      Comedy of Errors? MiG-29K was ordered into a holding pattern. Problem Couldn’t be Fix in the Time Allotment, so ‘Fulcrum’ Ran-Out of Fuel. And NO Buddy System was Available at the Time…

    • Tired_Libertarian

      I think that there are four wires on typical Nimitz class carriers and I read somewhere that the new Ford class has only three.

      • Leatherstocking

        Yes, new AAG system on CVN-78 on (Ford) has 3 wires and barricade as opposed to the traditional 4 wire recovery system

  • Mr.T

    BS you get from google translate , Mig was 40km from Lataikia airbase so runing out of gas is not likely as even if the things of the carrier went SNAFU planes could be rerouted to thier airbase in latakia that is then just 4minutes flying time away. I doubt they know what went wrong without recovering the plane wreck. Till then this is just one of many BS pieces making stuff up out of thin air.

    • Lorenzo Rodriguez

      Seems as if the only “thin air” is in the comments rather than the article – which is as it should be.

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    The Brits said that “stack gas” smoke was so bad the old carrier looked like a coal burner,,good photo tho

  • Bad Penguin

    Well the good news is the Russians now have a back up pilot. They only have 14 pilots that can take off from and land on the carrier and now they have 13 aircraft.