At least six Russian military aircraft have crashed since September due to what appear to be internal malfunctions.
There could be any number of reasons that these malfunctions occurred in Russian Air Force fighter planes, but taking a look at the recent high-profile crashes and the Russian military’s history of crashes could shed some light on the matter.
The fact that this is also happening amid the ongoing Ukraine-Russia War could provide further insight into the workings of the Russian air force.
Four of the Russian planes that crashed were fighter jets used in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
These include older MIG-31 and Su-25 aircraft, which could be expected to suffer from mechanical issues due to aging.
One noteworthy crash, however, was when a Su-34 fighter-bomber crashed into a Russian apartment building in Yeysk, exploding and killing 15 people. This was notable because the Su-34 is not an old fighter jet like the Su-25. Rather, it only officially entered into service with the Russian Air Force in 2014.
Other planes have crashed despite not even being used anywhere near Ukraine. One of these, a Su-30 warplane, crashed into a home in Irkutsk in Siberia.
But why is this happening?
Some analysts have tried to place the blame on the ongoing war in Ukraine, but that wouldn’t explain planes crashing far from the front lines.
Regarding the crash of the Su-34 in Yeysk, Russia put the blame on a fuel spill. Others at the time indicated that ammunition the plane had been carrying may have gone off during the flight.
Other experts have weighed in on this particular incident, with most putting the blame on an engine malfunction that caused the fuel supply to ignite.
One such expert, Andres Gannon of the Council of Foreign Relations, told the BBC that of the two flashes of light seen in videos of the crash, the first would be the fuel supply igniting and the second was when the pilots ejected.