#

Attempt to Escape: a Feasible Explanation to the Strange Su-34 Crash in North Ossetia

Su-34 / Open-source illustrative photo
Su-34 / Open-source illustrative photo
2181

The russian pilots may have intended to escape from the russian federation, and this is the only thing that logically explains the midnight flights in the mountains near the border

Yesterday, June 11th, a russian Su-34 frontline bomber crashed under mysterious circumstances in the Alagirsky District of North Ossetia, russian federation. The official explanation was a technical malfunction during a training flight, resulting in the plane crashing into a mountain. However, this narrative raises several questions.

First, the place and time of such an alleged training flight are the Caucasus mountains 15 km from the border with Georgia. Night flights in the mountains are no longer about learning. After all, these mountains are 3 to 5 kilometers in height. Moreover, border regions generally do not host training flights at all.

Read more: ​Strange Location of russian Su-34 Plane Crash Makes it Hard to Believe it Was Simply Redeploying
Defense Express / Attempt to Escape: a Feasible Explanation to the Strange Su-34 Crash in North Ossetia
Map credit: Google Maps; graphics credit: Vector Stall

That is why, perhaps, the russian milblogger Fighterbomber wrote that the aircraft was transferring to another airfield. But the russian defense ministry has already reported that the plane took off from the Mozdok airfield. This explanation falls apart since there are no russian military airfields south of Mozdok. Even considering a flight to the Khankala airfield near Grozny, the crash site is far from this location.

It's also unlikely that the pilots lost navigation. Such instances could be possible before the era of satellite navigation, furthermore, the Su-34 has backup navigation systems and even a second crew member responsible for orientation. Confusing the northern steppe with the southern mountains by mistake seems highly improbable either.

To this we must add the rather strange news coverage of this disaster in the russia. Instead of traditional stories about how the pilots heroically tried to divert the malfunctioning plane away from the villages, there is only a dry report. The names of the pilots have not been released, not even on specialized resources.

Defense Express / Attempt to Escape: a Feasible Explanation to the Strange Su-34 Crash in North Ossetia
Su-34 / Open-source illustrative photo

But everything looks more logical if we assume that the russian pilots were attempting to escape the country on the Su-34. A night flight through the mountains, which ended with the aircraft crashing near the village of Gorny Dzuarikau, suggests an attempt to evade detection by their own radars.

The crash site's location suggests a logical escape route with a destination point in Turkey, covering the shortest distance. Excluding the occupied South Ossetia, the pilots would only need to cross 95 kilometers of Georgian territory, achievable in about 270 seconds at low altitude for the Su-34.

Defense Express / Attempt to Escape: a Feasible Explanation to the Strange Su-34 Crash in North Ossetia
Map credit: Google Maps; graphics credit: Vector Stall

Historically, Soviet pilots have fled to Turkey quite regularly. The first such incident happened in 1948. There have been eight known attempts, five of which were successful, with the last occurring just before the USSR collapse in April 1991. The most famous escape was Alexander Zuyev's flight from the Mikha-Tskhakaya airfield in Georgia to Trabzon in a MiG-29 in May 1989.

While the theory that the Su-34 crash on June 11, 2024, was an unsuccessful escape attempt remains speculative, it offers a more logical explanation for the unusual circumstances surrounding the incident.

Read more: ​Ukrainian Forces Show Precise Destruction of russian Su-25 Aircraft (Video)