Two Russian Air Force pilots died when a Sukhoi Su-25UB fighter-bomber crashed on Tuesday in an isolated part of Stavropol Region in the southern part of the country. According to the Russian Defense Ministry statement on Wednesday, the two pilots failed to eject from the doomed combat aircraft.
"The Defense Ministry’s probe on the site of the Sukhoi-25UB crash in the Stavropol Territory has confirmed the death of both pilots. They failed to eject themselves," the Defense Ministry said in a statement according to Russian news agency TASS.
The twin-seat subsonic Su-25UB was on a training flight with an experienced instructor and a cadet when it went down outside the town of Budyonnovsk. Russian media had on Tuesday reported that the two pilots had ejected before the combat jet plunged into the ground in a ball of fire and was completely destroyed.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the plane was unarmed and "crashed in an unpopulated area causing no destruction on the ground". The plane had lost contact with the control tower before it crashed about 38 km south-west of Budyonnovsk. All Su-25 planes stationed in southern Russia were grounded in after the crash and an investigation has been launched to find out the exact reason behind the accident.
The Su-25 Grach is a single-seater close air support fighter-bomber but one of its variant - Su-25UB - has two seats for training purpose. The plane has been in service with the Russian military and before that with the armed forces of the former USSR since July 1981.
Its top speed is 975 kilometres per hour (Mach 0.79) with a maximum range of 1,000km. The Su-25's combat radius is 750km at sea level with 4,400 kilogrammes of weapons and two external fuel tanks. The plane has a service ceiling of 7,000 metres while its rate of climb is 58 metres per second with a g limit of +6.5.
Su-25s have one 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-2 autocannon with 250 rounds along with two 23 mm SPPU-22 gun pods for Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 autocannons with 260 rounds. The plane also has 11 hardpoints to carry up to 4,400kg of bombs, missiles and rockets.