A Sukhoi-22 fighter jet belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard crashed on Wednesday at an air base in the south-central city of Shiraz due to a “technical failure.”
According to an IRGC statement, “A Sukhoi 22 aircraft belonging to the IRGC’s Aerospace Force had a technical failure while taking off at the Shiraz Air Base on Wednesday morning, and the pilots were forced to eject from the plane.”
IRGC-affiliated Fars news said both the pilot and co-pilot survived the incident thanks to their timely reaction.
Such incidents occur frequently in Iran as the country’s air force has an assortment of aging Russian warplanes, and US-made military aircraft bought before the 1979 revolution that are not considered to be in optimal condition as decades of Western sanctions have made it hard to maintain the aging fleet.
In June, a US-built F-14 Tomcat warplane crashed and exploded in Esfahan due to a technical fault in the engine but the two pilots survived. According to a survey by Flight Global in 2019, the Iranian air force operates around 24 F-14 Tomcats from a batch of 79 of the Grumman-made swing-wing jets. Those that still in service in Iran are maintained by improvisation, since the US sanctions prevent purchase of new equipment and parts.
In May, an F-7 fighter jet of the Iranian Air Force crashed near the same city while on a training mission, killing both of the aircraft’s pilots. In February, a fighter jet plunged into a soccer field in the country’s northwestern city of Tabriz, killing both pilots and a civilian.