Ukraine Claims Destruction of Sukhoi Su-57 Deep Within Russian Territory

Photo Credit: Leonid Faerberg / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Leonid Faerberg / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Ukraine has scored several hits within Russian territory, but few have been as major as the one recently announced on Telegram. Posting to its official account on the social media platform, the Defense Intelligence Agency (GUR) announced drones had struck one or two Sukhoi Su-57s – Russia’s most advanced fighter jets.

Four Sukhoi-Su 57s in flight
Photo Credit: Oleg Nikishin / Getty Images

According to GUR, the Su-57s were struck at a Russian air base in the Astrakhan Oblast, 372 miles behind enemy lines. In the post, the agency shared satellite images of the base and wrote, “The images show that on June 7, Su-57 was still intact, but on June 8, crates from the explosion and distinctive fire spots emerged near it as a result of the fire damage.”

While it was initially believed only one had been struck in the strike, GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov told the media “there could be two Su-57 aircraft affected,” based on preliminary data obtained by the agency. He added that “there is also information about irreversible losses and wounded among the personnel of the occupiers,” referencing Russian service members.

Astrakhan Oblast is home to the Akhtubinsk Airfield, which houses the 929th State Flight Test Center of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation Named After V.P. Chkalov. The site is the main military aviation test facility for both the Armed Forces of Russia and the Russian Aerospace Forces, with most equipment tested there before entering active service.

Sukhoi Su-57 in flight
Photo Credit: Leonid Faerberg / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images)

According to CNN, the drone strike has prompted Russian military bloggers to criticize the country’s military for not constructing hangars to protect the fighter jets, given how much it costs to procure a single unit.

“For the price of this Su-57 alone, shelters … could be build,” one blogger wrote, adding, “If you don’t bully [the contractors] along the way and don’t give out kickbacks.”

They also noted that, if the fifth-generation fighters were deemed to be beyond repair, they would mark the first time Su-57s have been lost in the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Sukhoi Su-57 in flight
Photo Credit: Oleg Nikishin / Getty Images

The Su-57 is a stealth multi-role fighter jet that entered service with the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2020. Following a decade of development and testing, the aircraft entered full-scale production in 2019, with the aim of eventually replacing the Sukhoi Su-27 and the Mikoyan MiG-29.

Along with its advanced stealth abilities and avionics, the Su-57 has the ability to deploy a host of weaponry, which make it a danger to both air and ground targets.

It’s primary armament is a 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov Gsh-30-1 autocannon. It also has 12 hardpoints positioned within and on the exterior, which are capable of holding a variety of missiles, the most notable being the Kh-38M and Kh-31.

Sukhoi Su-57 in flight
Photo Credit: Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

It’s the Su-57’s ability to carry such weapons that has made it a target of the Ukrainian forces, as the fighter jet has been used to launch attacks on Ukraine throughout the war, which has been ongoing since February 2022.

However, as of late, it appears the Russian forces have changed tactics, opting, instead, to use long-range missiles to attack Ukraine, as opposed to military aircraft, which are more vulnerable to attacks while in Ukrainian airspace.

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It’s currently unknown how many Su-57s the Russian Aerospace Forces have in active service, but GUR wrote on Telegram, “The Russian Aerospace Forces currently have only a limited number of these combat aircraft in service.”

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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