Russia will transfer aircraft stationed aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier to the Syrian Hmeymim airbase until the carrier landing malfunction is resolved.
"I believe that they’ll be doing their utmost to fix this problem. Risking (more aircraft) would hardly be prudent, so while the arresting gear is being repaired the planes will be transferred to Hmeymim," Military analyst Viktor Baranets was quoted as saying by Sputnik news Monday.
Russian Navy’s Su-33 carrier-based multi-role aircraft fell off the runway into the sea during flight operations from Admiral Kuznetsov Saturday as the arresting gear cable did not hold the aircraft in time. On November 14 a MiG-29K crashed while returning to the aircraft carrier . It ran out of fuel following a delayed landing as the aircraft ahead of it suffered an arresting gear malfunction.
The Su-33 incident was the second loss for the air wing embarked on Admiral Kuznetsov in less than three weeks and a significant blow for the Russian Naval Aviation during its combat deployment off Syria.
"I’d call it the ‘bitter Syrian lessons. Svetlana, that arresting gear became a real gravedigger for our planes. It is a very cumbersome and complex system, and we’re not the only ones suffering from such problems – some US aircraft too ended up dropped into the sea by an arresting gear cable. This is a global military-technical problem, so to speak, as there has never been an absolutely perfect landing on any aircraft carrier. What happened now was exactly what President Vladimir Putin spoke of: the Syrian operation exposes strengths and weaknesses of our military hardware," Baranets said.
"After an agreement on its legal status, Hmeymim will become a base of Russian armed forces, all the appropriate infrastructure will be built there and our servicemen will live in decent conditions," Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia's parliament) was quoted as saying in an interview with the Russian Izvestia newspaper on August 11, this year.
The Hmeymim air base began operations in September 2015, when Russia started its counter-terrorist aerial campaign against Islamic State jihadists, as well as other affiliated radicals, in Syria.