Ukraine says deep drone strike destroyed rare Russian Su-57 stealth fighter


The Ukrainian military announced on Sunday that it had destroyed one of Russia’s newest and most advanced fighter jets in a drone strike on a military base deep in Russian territory.

The Sukhoi Su-57 fighter, nicknamed the “Felon” by NATO, was struck on the tarmac of an air base in the Astrakhan region, nearly 600 kilometers behind the front lines of the fighting during the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian ministry. defense intelligence agency (GUR).

The agency published satellite images in a post on its Telegram channel to support its claims, writing: “The images show that on June 7, the Su-57 was still intact, but on June 8, craters due to the explosion and distinctive fires appeared. nearby due to fire damage.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation twin-engine supersonic stealth fighter jet and was seen as Moscow’s answer to Western stealth jets like the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor.

But its development, which began in 2002, according to the US military, has been slow, and an Su-57 crashed during a test flight in 2019.

Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jets take part in a flight demonstration in Zhukovsky, Russia, August 27, 2019.

The Russian military received its first Su-57 in 2020, according to a report from the official TASS news agency, which said the aircraft was already “tested” in combat conditions in Syria in 2018.

The Ukrainian Telegram message highlighted the Su-57’s ability to carry Kh-59 and Kh-69 cruise missiles, which the aircraft could launch against Ukraine from the safety of Russian airspace.

While experts have expressed doubts about the Su-57’s capabilities compared to the F-22, Russian officials have praised its role in attacks on Ukraine.

In a 2022 TASS report, then-Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Su-57 “showed itself brilliantly.”

“The aircraft has a very high degree of protection against various air defense systems, protection against missiles… Most importantly, it has very powerful weapons. We have also tried and tested these weapons, they work wonderfully,” Shoigu said at the time.


Ukrainian forces say they managed to destroy one of Russia’s most advanced fighter jets, the SU-57, in a drone strike on a military base in the heart of Russia.

The exact number of combat-ready Su-57s available to the Russian Air Force is clear. Flight Global’s “World Air Forces 2024” directory lists 14 active Su-57s and another 62 on order.

“The Russian Aerospace Forces currently have only a limited number of these combat aircraft in service,” the GUR Telegram message said.

TASS reported in 2022 that Russian forces would receive a total of 22 Su-57s by the end of this year.

If reports of a Ukrainian drone strike deep inside Russia prove true, it would mark another success for kyiv’s low-cost drones that have destroyed high-value Russian assets. The price of an Su-57 is estimated between $35 million and $54 million, according to the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Drone strikes have become a growing problem for Moscow. Other Ukrainian drones have been used to sink or seriously damage Russian warships in the Black Sea, and tanks and armored vehicles have fallen before drones on the battlefield.

The attack would also raise new concerns for Russia about protecting bases far from the battlefield.

“This is definitely a trend that worries Russians,” said Jill Dougherty, a CNN contributor and former Moscow bureau chief.

“The Ukrainians are increasingly attacking inside Russia and giving them battle,” Dougherty said.

After reports of the attack surfaced, Russian military bloggers criticized the military for not building hangars to protect the Su-57s, noting that protective hangars could be built at every air base for the price of an Su-57, according to the Institute for Russia. Study of war.

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