Did US sabotage lead to crash of Russian Sukhoi?
Moscow: Russian military intelligence has claimed that a US undercover operation could have damaged its new superjet plane that crashed in Indonesia two weeks ago.
The aircraft was on a demonstration flight aimed at securing lucrative orders when it crashed into a mountain, which killed all 45 people onboard, the Daily Mail reports.
"We are investigating the theory that it was industrial sabotage," a GRU military intelligence source said.
Moscow has made the claim that the US used powerful lasers to zap a Russian Mars probe seven months ago.
After the Mars probe failed, Russian space chief Vladimir Popovkin warned: "We don't want to accuse anybody, but there are very powerful devices that can influence spacecraft now".
He stressed: "The frequent failure of our space launches, which occur at a time when they are flying over the part of Earth not visible from Russia, where we do not see the spacecraft and do not receive telemetric information, are not clear to us".
It has been argued that other satellite launches, of which about half a dozen failed in last 18 months, could have been possible work of US sabotage.
"We know that they have special technology, that we also have, to jam signals from the ground or cause parameter readings to malfunction," an unnamed intelligence official said.
He also highlighted that the US military was present at Jakarta Airport from where the plane took off on May 09.
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is the first entirely new passenger plane unveiled by Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.