One of the Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers crashed on September 18, 2003 during a test flight. The crash occurred at 11:04 MDT (according to other reports – at 11:09 MDT) near Sovetskoye, Saratov oblast. All four crew members were killed in the accident. Preliminary data indicate that the cause of the crash was a fire in one of the engines, which started when the plane was at the altitude of about 2 km. The bomber was not carrying any weapons.
The crashed aircraft was built at the Kazan Aviation Production Association in 1992. It was deployed with the 121st regiment of the 22 heavy bombers division, based in Engels. After the loss of the aircraft, there are 14 strategic bombers of the Tu-160 type left in the Russian strategic aviation.