The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has apparently suffered its second loss in less than a month. The Aviationist, citing unnamed military sources, reports a Russian Navy Su-33 Flanker-D crashed while attempting to land on the troubled flattop.
Sources claim the Flanker-D – one of at least eight deployed on the Admiral Kuznetsov during her Syrian deployment – crashed on its second landing attempt. It's likely the weather wasn't the issue, as The Aviationist reports that visibility was good, winds were a mild 12 knots, and in "moderate" seas as rated by the World Meteorological Organization's sea state scale.
According to the report, the Su-33 pilot missed the arresting wires on his second landing attempt and wasn't able to gain enough speed to take back off again. He ejected safely, and was eventually recovered by a search-and-rescue team.
The loss of one of the Kuznetsov's Flankers is the latest embarrassment for Russia's sole aircraft carrier. A MiG-29KR, one of Russia's most advanced carrier-based fighters and one of just four attached to the Kuznetsov, crashed while attempting to land in mid-November. These two crashes come in addition to the ship's constant unreliability, tugboat escorts, and limited power projection – remember, the lack of steam catapults mean fighters can only take off with limited armaments and fuel loads. In short, while Russia can still capitalize on the propaganda footage of its sole carrier launching fighters off the coast of Syria, Kuznetsov's deployment has arguably been a military quagmire, too.