12:00 AM, February 14, 2012
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After a Su-24 Fencer tactical bomber crashed in the Russian Urals on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry has indefinitely grounded the entire fleet, Ria Novosti reported on Tuesday. The Su-24 combat aircraft, similar to NATO’s Tornado and Mirage 2000 planes, crashed in the woods of the Kurgan region during a routine flight on Monday. Both pilots ejected safely. “The Air Force commander has cancelled all flights of this type of aircraft until the cause of the crash is established,” the source was quoted as saying but did not specify how long it could take. Monday’s crash was the third of a Su-24 in Russia over the last four months with the two previous crashes occurring in October and December 2011. The Russian Air Force has used the plane since the mid-1970s and is recent years has been gradually phasing them out due to a erratic safety record. The new Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft which has the potential to become the top plane in its class will gradually replace the Su-24
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