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Russian Su-25 strike aircraft will take part in a parade
Russian Su-25 strike aircraft will take part in a parade on Moscow's Red Square on VE Day, May 9, despite a ban on their flights after a recent crash, a deputy Air Force commander said on Saturday.

"A total of 32 of the Air Force's planes, including Su-25 strike aircraft, will fly over Red Square during the parade," Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn told journalists when asked whether Thursday's crash in the Far East would affect the plans.

A Su-25 Frogfoot close-support aircraft exploded in the air on Thursday in the Primorye Territory about 143 kilometers (90 miles) from the port of Vladivostok. The pilot was killed in the incident. The flight recorders have been discovered and are being decoded.

A source close to the investigation said Friday that the explosion occurred when an S-8 rocket exploded while being launched from the plane during a midair live firing exercise.

Russia's Air Force has suspended all Su-25 strike aircraft flights following the incident, while the investigation is ongoing.

Nagovitsyn said the investigation would last 10-30 days, and that the ban would be lifted by the end of April.

The Su-25 is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau to provide close air support for ground troops.

The aircraft has experienced a number of accidents in operational service caused by system failures attributed to the salvo-firing weapons.

Developed in the 1970s, the S-8 is an 80-mm (3.15 in) rocket used by fighter bombers and helicopters. The system entered service in 1984 and is produced in a variety of subtypes with different warheads.

The S-8 is generally carried in rocket pods, carrying either seven or 20 rockets.

Thursday's incident is the first Su-25 crash in two years. The most recent crash involving a Su-25 plane occurred in June 2006 in southwest Russia near the border with Ukraine. The pilot also died in the crash.

On May 21, 2005, a Su-25 crashed in Tajikistan. The pilot managed to eject from the plane and an investigation later established that the accident had been caused by technical problems.

The Su-25 aircraft has been in service with the Russian Air Force for more than 25 years. In 1999, Russia adopted a program to upgrade part of its aging Su-25 fleet. The Russian Air Force received the first six modernized planes, Su-25SM, in December 2006.

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