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Russia's Su-24 Fencer bombers to continue flights despite crash


MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti) - Flights by Russia's Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers will continue despite a crash on Wednesday in the north of the country, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

A Su-24 aircraft crashed on a runway upon landing in the Murmansk Region, but both pilots ejected safely and there was no destruction reported on the ground.

"This Su-24 crash is not a catastrophe and therefore flights by this type of aircraft have not been suspended," the spokesman said.

A source in the ministry said earlier that a special commission, set up to investigate the cause of the incident, had already begun decoding flight records, which remained in a good condition despite the aircraft burning up.

The Su-24 is a two-seat, twin-engine tactical bomber similar to NATO's Tornado and Mirage 2000 planes.

The plane has been in service with the Russian Air Force since the mid-1970s. However, in recent years Russia has gradually been phasing out the planes, which have a patchy safety record.

According to the Defense Ministry, the Su-24 will be gradually replaced with new Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft, which has the potential to become the top plane in its class for years to come.

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