Supersonic bomber crashes in Russia's northwest
Posted January 22, 2019 8:53 a.m. EST
CNN — A Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic strike bomber has crashed in Russia's northwestern region of Murmansk.
The accident occurred at 1:40 p.m. (5:40 a.m. ET) as the long-range bomber was attempting to land, according to Russian state news agency TASS, citing law enforcement officials.
The warplane had four crew members onboard: the commander, co-pilot, navigator and operator.
Two crew members have died and two have survived, according to law enforcement officials, TASS reported.
It was not immediately clear what caused the plane to crash.
The Tupolev Tu-22M3 is a supersonic long-range bomber which entered service in Russia during the 1980s.
The aircraft is capable of performing nuclear strikes as well as conventional attacks and anti-ship missions, according to Jane's by IHS Markit.
President Vladimir Putin claimed last year that Russia would soon unveil new weaponry that can render NATO defenses "completely useless," including a new hypersonic missile system.
After a December 26 test of the missile, which the Russian leader claims is "invulnerable" to US defenses, Putin said: "Russia is the first in the world to receive a new type of strategic weapon and this will reliably ensure the security of our state and of our people for decades to come."
The Avangard hypersonic system was tested from the Dombarovsky military airbase in southwest Russia, reported TASS.