Questions are rising around a mysterious fighter jet crash in central Henan province, China, last Saturday, April 23.
In a video clip widely circulated online, an open flame was still burning where the plane crashed. The nearby wheat fields were burned to scorched soil. The fighter jet has been smashed into pieces and scattered across the field.
Two pilots on board luckily escaped by parachuting. One was Chinese, and the other was a Westerner who looked like a Russian. Both of them were not heavily injured.
In one clip, two pilots can be seen lying on the ground in the wheat field. Witness villagers on the scene ask them whether they are from China’s People’s Liberation Army or the Chinese military.
The Chinese pilot said that he was indeed from the Chinese PLA while reminding people nearby not to take any pictures. The Chinese pilot added that he was a student, and the Western pilot was the coach.
Chinese-language media Da Ji Yuan reported that another source said that the fighter jet crashed was an L15 Falcon. This is a supersonic advanced jet trainer and light combat aircraft developed by Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation under China’s state-owned aerospace and defence conglomerate AVIC. Yakovlev Design Bureau – the Russian aircraft designer and manufacturer – is the one helping in developing this jet. Each L15 Falcon costs about 100 million yuan or 15 million dollars.
Yao Cheng, former lieutenant colonel of the Chinese Navy Command, said this incident has a profound implication. He said that the Western guy seemed to be Russian. He also gave out 3 scenarios in one of his Twitter post:
1. The Russian guy is a flight instructor, and he comes to train the Chinese pilot. But in recent years, China has not bought new Russian aircraft.
2. The Russian pilots came to China to receive training on new aircraft types, meaning China wants to sell planes to Russia.
3. They both wear anti-G suits that only supersonic fighter pilots have. This indicates that the Russian military lacks high-level fighter jets.
According to Chinese-language media Xiwang Zhisheng, another analysis points out that if it helped train Russian pilots, then China would be deeply involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. U.S. intelligence would be deeply concerned about this matter and would strictly follow this.