A Russian MiG-31 was lost in 2017, now we know why.
When the crash was reported, the Russian Ministry of Defense did not explain why the aircraft crashed. However, a newly released document prepared by Aviaprom includes an analysis of the incident. This was first reported here.
“… the accident of the MiG-31 aircraft was the result of omissions in the activities of officials in the organization of the LUT (flight tactical exercises – Approx. Ed. precluding their mutual falling into the zone of permitted launches of guided missiles R-33) … “
The R-33 is a long-range air-to-air missile developed by Vympel. It is the primary armament of the MiG-31 interceptor, intended to attack large high-speed targets such as the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-1 Lancer bomber, and the B-52.
The report adds:
“… the accident of the MiG-31 aircraft as a result of the crew’s violation of safety measures and missions for flight, expressed in the premature activation of the aircraft’s on-board radar station by the navigator and the unauthorized launch of the R-33 guided missiles by the commander of the MiG-31 fighter aircraft … “
In short, one MiG-31 shot down the other in error.