A video showing a 14,000 kg Su-34 fighter plane being towed along the highway outside Voronezh, a major city about 450 km south of Moscow, has caught the attention of aviation enthusiasts in both Russia and abroad, with observers left scratching their heads as to why a special transporter was not used.
Users carefully studied the plane’s details, including the several dozen red stars painted on the its fuselage, seeming to indicate that the plane was used in anti-terrorist operations in Syria. Each star indicates ten combat sorties.
The Aviationist posted photos of the Su-34 driving along the road using its own landing gear tires, quipping that such a thing could be seen “only in Russia…” According to the outlet, this particular Su-34 may have been involved in an accident which may have left it incapable of continued flight.
Meanwhile, on VKontakte, the Russian social media equivalent to Facebook, users made comments about the plane clearly having had its share of fighting, and came up with captions for the images. “When you tell everyone that you have a plane but that you took it to grandma’s house in the countryside,” one user wrote. “Where is the duckling being taken?” another asked, pointing to the plane’s nickname of ‘Duckbill’ due to its flattened nosecone. Others began digging through old photos of Su-34s at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in Syria in an effort to find the plane, with one user finding a Su-34 with the number ’25’ painted on its fuselage similar to the one being towed. Finally, a few pointed to news reports about a pair of Su-34s colliding over Lipetsk, western Russia in September, and pondered whether this may have been one of those planes.