A Su-33 Fighter Jet Sank After a Failed Landing Attempt on a Carrier

In a dramatic incident that has recently come to light, a Russian Sukhoi Su-33 fighter jet sank into the Mediterranean Sea following a failed landing attempt on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.

The Incident

The incident, which occurred in December 2016, was captured in leaked footage that has been widely circulated on social media channels. In the video, the aircraft can be seen in the water, still attached to Admiral Kuznetsov’s arresting gear. A helicopter is also visible nearby, indicating a rescue operation for the ejected pilot.


The Cause

The Russian ministry attributed the sinking of the Su-33 to "the failure of the arrester system's cable". The arrester system is a critical component of an aircraft carrier's landing mechanism, designed to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands.


Previous Accident

The sinking of the Su-33 was not an isolated incident for the Admiral Kuznetsov. The aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1985, has been plagued by both technical and operational challenges. In addition to the Su-33 mishap, a MiG-29 also crashed during a landing attempt on the same carrier in November 2016.


Carrier Sent Home

Following these incidents and Russia’s naval operations in Syria, Admiral Kuznetsov returned to Russia in early 2017 to undergo significant repairs aimed at extending its service life by 25 years and updating various systems. However, various factors have led to an extension of the maintenance timeline.

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