A military jet crashed in northern Vietnam on Tuesday, killing one pilot, the Defense Ministry said.
The accident happened at noon in Yen Bai province and the 30-year-old pilot died while trying to land the Russian-made Su-22 jet fighter, which was on a training mission at a local airport, local media reported.
The cause of the crash is not known at this stage, he said.” The pilot was battling clouds and bad weather over mountainous terrain during their training mission when the accident occurred.
Two pilots were killed in a similar exercise involving an Su-22 in central Vietnam in 2018, while two were forced to eject over the East Vietnam Sea in 2015 when their Su-22 jet went down.
According to Reuters, Vietnam relies heavily on Russia for its military procurements, although it is seeking to diversify its equipment and arms suppliers.
For many military watchers, the Sukhoi name is synonymous with the clean flowing lines of the Su-27, Su-30, and Su-35 series of Flanker aircraft or the squat and stubby Su-25 ground attack aircraft. However, during the majority of the Cold War, the swing-wing Su-17 (known as the Su-22 for export) formed the bulk of strike and CAS aircraft for Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces.
Some of these aircraft still fly today in the service of former Soviet allies.
This powerful Russian-designed ground attack aircraft was a versatile weapon in the Soviet Union’s air forces for many years, and it was one of the Soviets’ first variable geometry or “swing-wing” attack aircraft. Variable geometry wings allow aircraft to adjust speed, lift and maneuverability characteristics in flight and to operate from short airfields. The swing-wing aircraft series designated “Fitter” by NATO began with the Su-7 Fitter-A fighter-bomber, a fixed-wing fighter that entered Soviet service in 1959. In the late 1960s, when Western and Soviet aircraft designers began developing swing-wing aircraft, Sukhoi installed variable wings and a more powerful engine in the Fitter. This alteration greatly improved the airplane’s performance, and NATO designated it the Fitter-B.
Several updated versions followed, with improved engines, radars, weapons, and airframes. Western analysts first identified Fitter-Ks, like the one on display, in 1984. Produced until 1991, Fitters could carry a large variety of weapons and stores, and were exported to nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Poland and several others.
This Fitter-K came to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 2003. It was acquired from the Federal Republic of Germany.
- Crew: One
- Armament: 9,370 lbs. of various nuclear weapons, bombs, rockets, missiles and gun pods on eight external pylons
- Engine: Lyul’ka AL-21F-3 turbojet of 24,700 lbs. thrust with afterburner
- Maximum speed: 1,550 mph (Mach 2.09)
- Wing sweep: Variable in three fixed positions: 28 degrees for low speed and 62 degrees for high speed, plus one intermediate position
@ Vietnam Insider