TechUkrainian forces shoot down four Russian aircraft, including an advanced Su-35 fighter

Ukrainian forces shoot down four Russian aircraft, including an advanced Su‑35 fighter

Su-34 bomber, illustrative picture
Su-34 bomber, illustrative picture
Images source: © Getty Images | Artyom_Anikeev
8:51 AM EST, February 18, 2024

On Saturday, February 17, the Ukrainian Air Force Command announced that three enemy aircraft were shot down on the eastern front: Two Su-34 bombers and one Su-35 fighter — the most advanced serially produced Russian military aircraft. However, the invaders suffered more losses; on the morning of Sunday, February 18, the takedown of another Su-34 bomber was confirmed.

Interestingly, three Russian aircraft were destroyed "virtually simultaneously" during the Ukrainians' Saturday attack. The Su-34 bombers were likely in the process of executing another mission when they were shot down, with the Su-35 fighter acting as their reinforcement.

The Russians lost four more planes

The specific weapons used by the Ukrainians weren't disclosed. However, the Defense Express portal speculated that it could've been the Patriot system equipped with GEM-T missiles, which offer a striking range of up to 160 km (approximately 99 miles) for aerial targets. It was previously confirmed that Kyiv received this type of support, which was responsible for other significant losses for the Russians, such as the downing of an A-50 Beriev early warning aircraft and damage to an air command post, specifically an Il-22M1 aircraft.

The downfall of the Su-34: An exploration

The Su-34 bombers have posed a significant issue to the Ukrainians since the early stages of the ongoing war. These machines have allowed the Russians to sustain air superiority and regularly launch attacks on defensive army positions.

A recording shared on social media captures the moment one of the Russian Su-34 bombers was hit.

These units have a length of over 75 feet and can carry up to 8.8 tons of weaponry across 12 under-wing and under-fuselage nodes. These often include KAB air bombs, which can weigh up to 1,500 kg, although those used in Ukraine typically weigh around 500 kg or 1,102 lbs.

Equipped with two AL-31F M1 engines, these bombers can reach speeds up to 1,900 km/h or about 1,180 mph. The Su-34 has a maximum range of 4,000 km or approximately 2,485 miles, with a maximum flight altitude of up to 17,000 km or about 10,564 miles. As standard, these Russian aircraft are armed with a 30 mm air gun.

Related content