Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Claims First Su-57 Loss, Escalates Strikes Deep Inside Russia

Main image to the post Ukraine Claims First Su-57 Loss, Escalates Strikes Deep Inside Russia

Ukraine's main intelligence directorate (GUR) reported on Sunday morning that Ukraine had struck a prized Russian Su-57 fighter jet stationed deep inside Russian territory for the first time. The aircraft was reportedly damaged following a strike on the Akhtubinsk airfield in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia, 360 miles from the front line.

Satellite imagery provided by Ukraine's military intelligence appears to show the aircraft standing intact on June 7 and damaged on June 8. Ukraine's military intelligence described the Su-57 as Moscow's "most modern fighter, which can attack with Kh-59 and Kh-69 missiles."

A pro-Kremlin Telegram channel, Fighterbomber, often used as a source to confirm Russian military losses, reported that there was shrapnel damage to a Su-57. The channel wrote that it is currently being determined whether the bomber can be restored.

Unlike Russia's Su-25 and Su-35 aircraft, Moscow's fifth-generation Su-57 fighters have not been widely used since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Ukraine's military intelligence claimed that the defeat of the Su-57 is the first such case in history.

Military correspondent and blogger David Axe wrote in an article for Forbes that if confirmed, the loss of the Su-57 "would represent only the second stealth warplane any country has lost in combat in the four decades since the US Air Force deployed the very first stealth plane—the Lockheed Martin F-117."

Axe noted that in 1999, a Serbian air defense battery shot down an F-117 as it was flying a NATO mission in the Kosovo war.

In recent weeks, Ukraine appears to be increasing the range of its strikes into Russia's hinterland. On Saturday, a video surfaced across open source intelligence channels appearing to show a Ukrainian long-range attack drone diving toward Mozdok air base in Russia's southern region of North Ossetia, 450 miles from the front line in eastern Ukraine.

It is not known if the drone caused any military damage, but in April, satellite imagery revealed that the base was home to 6 Tu-22M bombers, 4 Su-24M/MR strike aircraft, and 20 military helicopters.

Retired Australian army general Mick Ryan wrote on Substack earlier this year that such attacks deep inside Russian territory will "force a Russian reassessment of their air defense resources as well as having to redeploy these assets further from where they are most needed."

"Russia's air defenses are spread so thin by Ukraine's escalating drone campaign that they can't protect all of the Kremlin's most valuable assets."

one Su-27 and two MiG-31s.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09