Three crew members on board a supersonic Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire bomber have died in a horror incident at Shaikovka military airfield in the Kaluga region, on Tuesday.
“An ejection system malfunctioned during a planned preparation on the ground for a Tu-22M3 flight at an airfield in the Kaluga region,” the defence ministry said.
Three crew members received fatal injuries due to the “insufficient height to deploy parachutes,” the defence ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
A state commission has been sent to the scene near the city of Kaluga some 190 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of the capital Moscow to inspect the bomber and look into the reasons of the accident.
The Tu-22M3 is a Soviet-era supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the 1960s.
*This is a developing story. More details will be added as they emerge.