Russian fighter MiG-29K that crashed last week in the Mediterranean Sea was due to various faults including unexpected engine shut down and broken Arrestor Cable.
The Mikoyan MiG-29K that crashed on Nov. 13 was part of a trio of fighters attacked from Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov for operations over Syria, USNI News reported Monday.
Following the mission, the fighters were returning to the aircraft carrier. In this situation, landings were to occur with an interval of three-to-four minutes.
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.
With the deck fouled from the cable break, the third MiG which was on approach closely behind the second fighter was instructed to circle back into a holding pattern meanwhile the crew of Admiral Kuznetsov cleared the deck for the next landing. Unfortunately, both the fighter’s engines shut down while in the holding area.
A preliminary explanation is that they were no longer receiving fuel. In such situations, a fighter falls like a rock, and the pilot has only one option to eject.
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 said 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.” he added.
A land-based facility to train Russian naval aviators that was set to open in 2015 has been continually delayed. The carrier technically known as an aircraft carrying guided missile cruiser is part of a four ship Russian naval force that deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean, including 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 Grigorovich that 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 said.