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November 4, 2019

They do things differently in Russia

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Above and below, photos of a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 tactical strike plane being towed down a superhighway — on its own landing gear.

From The Aviationist:

The Russians made dashcam video famous, and while these photos weren't taken with a dashcam, they only add to the lore of weird and interesting Russian road sightings.

Someone — we aren't exactly certain who — posted photos of a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 (NATO code name "Fullback") twin-engine, two-seat tactical strike aircraft being towed along a Russian highway.

Below, a photo likely taken early in the morning as it began its trip on the roadway.

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If the aircraft were on a trailer, that may not be such a big deal.

But this Su-34 is being pulled along on its own landing gear tires. Only in Russia....

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As you can see from the photos, the wings have been removed for transport.

Also worth noticing are the mission markings on the nose of the aircraft (below).

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This Su-34 has seen some action.

It is possible — based on the aircraft's markings and its "bort," or nose number — that this particular plane may have been one of at least four deployed to Latakia, Syria in late 2015.

We're not certain this is accurate, but the bort number series and the overall grey upper surfaces and lower light blue surface both match the markings of the Su-34 Syrian "class of 2015."

Below, one of the planes during its deployment to Syria.

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Note that in this photo, the aircraft has no mission markings yet.

One member of the inner circle here at TheAviationist.com, a man we'll call "Alex," who has been most helpful with all of our efforts in Russia, in person and on social media, did some digging and used his Russian language skills to tell us more.

According to what Alex found out through Russian language Facebook posts, the Russians are "Moving not airworthy airframes from Buturlinovka to Voronezh before snow covers roads."

Voronezh, or "Voronezh Malshevo" as mentioned by Alex, is home to at least several Su-34s, and this airframe may be moving there for some type of extensive airframe maintenance or to be used as a training airframe for maintenance and ground crews.

Another one of our trusted Russian contacts, we'll call him "Ivan" (what else?) told us, "I think the rumor is this aircraft will become a training instructional airframe at Voronezh."

In addition to Alex's investigation, one of our correspondents, Stefano D'Urso, found out that "Someone posted the same photos on Twitter."

Stefano said that "In the comments I found a link to an article related to the mishap, so I did a quick check on Google Maps and I found that Buturlinovka and Lipetsk are only 200km apart, with Voronezh being in the middle."

D'Urso, who is somewhat of a master of internet research, went on to confirm the likelihood of the aircraft's past deployment to Syria, so that information is almost certainly accurate.

The accident that this aircraft was involved in, as discovered by Stefano D’Urso, took place on September 6, 2019.

Below, one of the aircraft involved in the accident.

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Even more interestingly, a report in the Russian news agency TASS said that, "The pilot's error resulted in the collision over the Lipetsk region, a special commission is now studying the details of the accident, which will particularly determine the extent of responsibility of each of the crews."

So, it looks like we may have our answer in the mystery of the superhighway Sukhoi sighting.

We also have one more reason why reporting on Russian aviation is always so fascinating and full of interesting surprises.

FunFact: both my parents were born in Russia.

November 4, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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