Russia grounded its entire fleet of Sukhoi-27 fighter jets Thursday after an apparent technical glitch caused one of the aircraft to crash near Moscow, killing the pilot.
Russia is believed to have more than 300 of the jets in service. One of the aircraft flew within 100 feet of a U.S. surveillance plane over the Baltic Sea in April, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.
Viktor Bondarev, the head of Russia’s air force, ordered all Su-27s to be grounded Thursday until investigators could determine the specific cause of the crash, Reuters reported, citing Russian news agencies.
The plane involved in the crash was part of the "Russian Knights," an aerobatic demonstration team.
Russia’s defense ministry was quoted as saying that the pilot didn’t have time to eject because he decided to steer the aircraft away from a populated area before the crash.