Russia’s Most Advanced Su-57 Jet Fighter Crashes during Test Flight

In a serious setback for the Russian military, one of its most advanced fighter aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-57 crashed during a training accident, the South China Morning Post reported citing a statement from the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).

The accident involving the SU-57 “Felon” fighter is the first reported accident for the aircraft since production began in 2010. The Russian Defense Ministry has indicated that it will investigate the crash. An unnamed Russian military official told RIA Novosti that pilot error or a technical malfunction are believed to have caused the Su-57 crash.

Here is what we know: The plane crashed Thursday after suffering a failure of the steering system, according to a report by the South China Morning Post. The incident occurred in the Khabarovsk Region, and the pilot was able to eject safely, but the plane was a total loss. There were no injuries on the ground, according to the report which cited military sources.

The SU-57 was developed in response to the U.S. military’s F-22 “Raptor” fighter and has been in production for nine years. The aircraft that crashed was the first of the mass-produced models. The Russian government only has 11 of the planes left. It was to be handed over to the Russian military after the test flight.

The company had originally intended to produce about 150 aircraft but production was slowed down for want of enough buyers. The Russian government has placed a new order for 74 aircraft.

The SU-57 has seen action in Syria as the Russian military used the aircraft sparingly for combat trials with moderate success.