The Su-35 had its missiles removed ahead of the exercise, but the aircraft’s cannons had accidentally remained loaded, the pilot pulled the trigger to record the kill, the cannon fired and hit the Su-30.
A Russian Air and Space Force (RuASF) Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft crashed in the Tver region during a routine training flight on Sep. 22, 2020 Russia’s Western Military District said.
According to Defense Brief the crew members were able to eject and the aircraft landed in a wooded area, with no damages to objects on the ground.
Shortly after the confirmation of the accident, a Russian military information channel on the encrypted network Telegram said the Su-30 had actually been shot down by a Su-35 aircraft during a “dogfight” maneuver. Actually the Su-35 had its missiles removed ahead of the exercise, but the aircraft’s cannons had accidentally remained loaded, the pilot pulled the trigger to record the kill, the cannon fired and hit the Su-30SM.
Noteworthy this is not the first time that a Russian fighter erroneously shot down another Russian Aircraft.
On Apr. 26, 2017 in fact a MiG-31 from Russia’s Eastern Military District crashed during a training flight near the Telemba proving ground, the Republic of Buryatia.
At that time, the Russian Ministry of Defense did not explain why the aircraft crashed.
Both crew members reportedly ejected and a search and rescue helicopter was dispatched to the site of the incident.
Last year emerged that the twin-engine fighter was brought down by another MiG-31 which fired an R-33 air-to-air missile mistakenly.
A report appeared on Baza claimed that “… the accident of the MiG-31 aircraft was the result of omissions in the activities of officials in the organization of the LUT (flight tactical exercises – Approx. Ed. precluding their mutual falling into the zone of permitted launches of guided missiles R-33)…”
The report continued: “… the accident of the MiG-31 aircraft as a result of the crew’s violation of safety measures and missions for flight, expressed in the premature activation of the aircraft’s on-board radar station by the navigator and the unauthorized launch of the R-33 guided missiles by the commander of the MiG-31 fighter aircraft…”
In short, the MiG-31 mistakenly shot down its wingman.
Photo credit: Alex Beltyukov Russianplanes.net via Wikipedia and Russian Ministry of Defence