Russian Major General Kanamat Botashev died this week after being shot down by an anti-aircraft missile fired by Ukrainian forces, the BBC reported in a news report.
Botashev was 63 years old when he was shot down by a MANPADS system. He had been retired since 2012 and returned specifically to fulfill missions in the war between Russia and Ukraine, piloting a Sukhoi Su-25 jet, aimed at ground attacks.
Before his retirement, he was the commander of an aviation regiment.
The Russian pilot was quite fearless, and forcibly retired in 2012 after shooting down a Su-27 fighter during training near Petrozavodsk.
At the time, almost 53 years old, he was still accumulating two other recent incidents and was accused of piloting the two-seater Su-27 without undergoing medical examinations and specific training. The military court imposed a fine of 5 million rubles on the pilot and 4 years of detention on parole.
On this occasion, both pilots ejected, and the Russian military authorities launched an investigation into the crash. Colonel Yevgeny Oleinik stated that a friend of his was carrying out a series of maneuvers with the fighter when the plane entered a spin stall.
“I just wanted to fly a fighter of this type, but I didn’t take into account that such an aircraft has its own characteristics,” explained Botashev at the trial.
A year earlier the Russian pilot had flown without permission in the Su-34 without further incidents.
The information collected by the BBC, with three former subordinates of the Major General, coincides with the information issued by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, of a Sukhoi Su-25 shot down on Sunday (22) in Luhansk.
He recently returned to the Russian Air Force, several years after his retirement, due to the lack of trained pilots with Botashev’s quality for ground attacks with the Sukhoi Su-25.
Training a pilot for the Su-25 fighter-bomber can take up to 12 years, and costs about $8 million, according to information from the Russian Defense Ministry.
The armed forces do not normally use older pilots for real combat situations. We can see this positioning even in the Top Gun franchise itself: Maverick, where the fearless pilot is allocated only to train young cadets.
Experienced pilots are usually wing commanders, or rise from positions within the military institution, assuming administrative positions. Russia’s position of using older pilots and generals on the battlefront shows the country’s lack of manpower for wars.