Russian Su-24 Fleet Grounded After Fatal Crash

An Su-24 Fencer bomber crashed Monday evening after taking off from an airfield in the Khabarovsk region in Russia’s eastern military district, killing two pilots and prompting the Russian Ministry of Defense to temporarily ground its fleet of Su-24s until the cause has been determined. According to wire reports from Russia quoting the Ministry of Defense, the bomber was taking off around 9:35 p.m. local time on a night training flight, flying from the Khurba Air Base in Khabarovsk, which lies north of Japan and west of Sakhalin Island. The Su-24 is a strategic bomber, which has participated in a range of recent exercises. The aircraft that went down on Monday marks the fifth accident involving Russian military aircraft in the last month. On July 3, a MiG-29 Fulcrum crashed in southern Russia during a training flight. The pilot ejected safely, but the incident prompted the temporary grounding of MiG-29 fighters as well.