Aviation

Ukrainian Air Force Su-27UB Flanker Crashes, Pilots Killed

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A Ukrainian Su-27UB twin-seat fighter jet with two pilots crashed during a training exercise on Tuesday.

The accident occurred at around 5:00 PM local time on Oct. 16, 2018, near the village of Ulaniv, which is situated approximately 185 miles southwest of the Ukranian capital Kiev.

Also reported that both the pilot and co-pilot have been killed after a Su-27UB (70 Blue) fighter jet crashed during a Clear Sky 18 training flight in west-central Ukraine belonged to the 831 brigade tactical aviation of Mirgorod of Poltava region.

The jet had been flying a training sortie as part of Exercise Clear Sky 2018, which began on Oct. 8, 2018.

“We regret to inform that, according to a report by the search and rescue team, the bodies of two pilots were found,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a statement on social media on Oct. 16, 2018. “One is a Ukrainian air force pilot, and the second is a U.S. Air National Guard pilot.”

U.S. Air Force public affairs officer said: “We are aware of a Ukrainian Su-27UB fighter aircraft that crashed in the Vinnytsia region at approximately 5pm local time during Clear Sky 2018 today.”

“We have also seen the reports claiming a U.S. casualty and are currently investigating and working to get more information. We will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.”

U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), the top Air Force command in the region, has confirmed that a U.S. service member was involved in the incident, but has no made an official announcement as to their status.

USAFE also said that mishap is already under investigation. “It is currently under investigation and we will continue to provide more information as it becomes available,” U.S. Air Forces in Europe said in a statement.

The Su-27UB jet was taking part in Clear Sky 2018, a joint military exercise with NATO members taking place October 8 through 19 in Western Ukraine.

Clear Sky 2018 is a joint and multinational exercise in which approximately 950 personnel from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States are taking part in the drills. The stated objective is to improve cooperation between NATO air arms and Ukraine’s air force.

The Clear Sky 18’s training is intended to increase the level of interoperability of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the Air Forces of the US and NATO, work out effective joint management of operations in the air, work out the sharing of intelligence and surveillance capabilities, as well as cyberdefense focused on the needs of the air forces.

“This is the largest exercise in the last four years. It involves more than 50 aircrafts from eight NATO member-states and our planes – of the Ukrainian Air Forces,” Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko said on Oct. 11, 2018. “The purpose of the exercises is to increase the level of interoperability of our combat aircrafts with the air forces of the United States and other member states of the [NATO] Alliance.”

 

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