Images Show Russian Su-57 'Felon' Stealth Fighter Attacked by Ukraine

Su-57 Fighter Attack by Ukraine
June 9, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaUkraineWar In UkraineSu-57MilitaryDefenseSu-57 Felon

Images Show Russian Su-57 'Felon' Stealth Fighter Attacked by Ukraine

Ukraine claims it may have damaged a Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter at the Akhtubinsk airbase, 365 miles from Ukraine.

 

Summary and Key Points: Ukraine claims it may have damaged a Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter at the Akhtubinsk airbase, 365 miles from Ukraine.

Su-57

 

-Images released by Ukraine’s intelligence show the airbase before and after the attack, with visible craters and fire damage.

-Russian sources on Telegram confirmed shrapnel damage to the Su-57, but the Kremlin has not acknowledged the incident.

-If true, this raises questions about the effectiveness of Russia's air defenses.

Ukraine Allegedly Damages Russia's Su-57 Fighter on the Ground

No fifth-generation fighter jet has been lost in aerial combat – but Ukraine claimed that its forces may have at least damaged one of the Russian Aerospace Force's Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name "Felon") on Saturday.

The advanced multirole combat aircraft came under attack while it was on the ground at the Akhtubinsk air base located approximately 365 miles (nearly 600 km) from Ukraine.

Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) released images of the air base and Su-57 on the Telegram social messaging app, stating, "The pictures show that on June 7, the Su-57 was standing intact, and on (June 8th), there were craters from the explosion and characteristic spots of fire caused by fire damage near it."

The images have been widely shared on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

While Kyiv has not said how the airbase was attacked or which units were involved, Russian propagandists on Telegram suggested the base and aircraft were hit by a drone.

The Su-57 has also been noted for being the first Russian-built aircraft to feature stealth technology, but the best stealth clearly can't hide it on the ground.

Russia Silent on the Extent of the Damage Su-57 Fighter Damage

The Kremlin has not confirmed that the base has come under attack or acknowledged that one of its prized fifth-generation fighters was targeted.

Again, the only confirmation has come from the Russian war bloggers, who reported that the Su-57 was "damaged by shrapnel."

"It is now being determined whether it can be restored or not," the Russian Fighterbomber Telegram channel added.

Su-57

Though the raid hasn't been confirmed, if true, it would be the latest humiliation for Moscow, which has seen numerous warships targeted in the Black Sea and aircraft damaged on the ground hundreds of miles from the front lines.

Yet, even if the Su-57 were damaged beyond repair, it would likely change little in the ongoing fighting as the Kremlin has widely kept the Su-57 Felon out of the fight.

There has been speculation that because of the limited numbers of the fifth-generation aircraft and their high costs, Moscow has only employed the Su-57 in combat in limited roles and always from the safety of Russian airspace.

One factor could be that it fears Ukraine's air defense, including the U.S.-supplied MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, which has proven effective against Russia's missiles and drones. Losing even a single Su-57 over the skies of Ukraine would be a major propaganda blow for the Kremlin.

Su-57

Yet, it now appears that one may have been damaged on the ground – which could be almost as embarrassing as it puts into question whether Russia's air defense systems can actually protect its air space.

If a high-value target like the Su-57 on the ground could be read that nowhere within 600 km of Ukraine is safe. 

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].

The main image is from X. All others are Creative Commons/Shutterstock.