TechRussia's advanced Su-35 downed by friendly fire over Crimea

Russia's advanced Su‑35 downed by friendly fire over Crimea

Russian Su-35 shot down over Crimea near Sevastopol.
Russian Su-35 shot down over Crimea near Sevastopol.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | OSINTtechnical

11:22 AM EDT, March 29, 2024

Russians have once again demonstrated that their pilots face a greater threat from their own anti-aircraft defense than from Ukrainian aviation. This time, a modern and relatively scarce Su-35 fell victim over Sevastopol. We will delve into the capabilities of the Super Flanker and explore the context of this incident.
On March 28, 2024, over Crimea near Sevastopol, Russian anti-aircraft defense mistakenly shot down its own aircraft, an S-35. This represents the most modern multi-role aircraft in the Russian airforce. The video below captures the falling, burning wreckage of the aircraft.
This incident is not isolated. Throughout 2022 and 2023, there have been multiple instances where Russian forces accidentally shot down their own aircraft. Notably, incidents occurred on October 5th and September 28th, 2023, involving Su-35s and on March 4th, 2023, when a tactical bomber Su-34 was downed.
The root cause of these accidents lies in issues with the IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems and the training of anti-aircraft system operators. It’s crucial to highlight that both Russia and Ukraine operate aircraft with similar radar signatures, complicating the task of accurately identifying aircraft amid equipment malfunctions and the intense pressure experienced by anti-aircraft operators.

The Su-35: A Multi-Role Super Flanker

The Su-35, hailed as the pinnacle of Russian aviation next to the limited Su-57 units, evolved from the Su-27 model. Introduced in 2014, the Super Flanker is a heavy air superiority fighter, weighing in at 19 tons.
Beyond engaging air targets, the Su-35 is capable of striking ground or naval targets when necessary. Russian demonstrations at air shows have particularly highlighted the aircraft’s maneuverability at low speeds, enabled by thrust vectoring engines.
A notable feature of the Su-35 is its powerful N035 Irbis-E radar, capable of detecting targets with a radar cross-section of about 32.3 square feet from over 186 miles away. It can simultaneously track 30 targets and engage eight. It's important to note that this radar utilizes passive electronic scanning (PESA), an older technology compared to the active electronic scanning (AESA) found in modern aircraft like the F-16, F-35, Rafale, or F-22 Raptor.
The Su-35 also incorporates the IRST OLS-35 system, which passively detects targets based on their thermal signatures. However, its performance might not be as advanced as the PIRATE system from the Eurofighter.
Regarding armament, the Su-35 boasts an onboard 30 mm caliber GSz-30-1 cannon and 12 pylons. These can carry a range of weapons including air-to-air missiles R-37 with up to 186 miles range, anti-ship missiles Ch-61, or bombs from the FAB family.
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