TechUkrainian strike damages two high-value Su-57 fighter jets, beloved by Putin

Ukrainian strike damages two high-value Su‑57 fighter jets, beloved by Putin

Su-57 in the sky
Su-57 in the sky
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Anna Zvereva

4:07 PM EDT, June 11, 2024

In the attack carried out on Saturday, June 8, on the Russian airfield in Akhtubinsk, one Su-57 fighter jet was reported damaged, according to Ukrainian sources. However, it turns out that as many as two aircraft were hit, according to reports from the Russians themselves.

The Su-57 is among the most valuable aircraft in the Russian Federation's arsenal. However, the aggressor's army does not have many of them. According to the calculations of Ukrainian aviation expert Konstantin Kryvolap, there are currently only 10-11 Su-57s in Russia capable of conducting operations.

The Ukrainians managed to reduce this number by one due to the attack carried out last weekend. The defending army reported a successful strike on the airfield in Akhtubinsk (Astrakhan Oblast), where the Russians stored the Su-57s. During the shelling, one aircraft was reportedly hit.

However, it turns out that the Ukrainians did not damage just one machine as previously thought. As a result of the shelling, two Su-57 fighter jets were hit, as reported by the Russians.

Only one of the two fighters hit suffered significant damage. The second Su-57 will most likely be repaired at the airbase where it is stationed. However, the Russians do not disclose exactly what elements were damaged in the second aircraft during the attack.

The latest aircraft in the Russian arsenal

Let us recall that the Su-57s are aircraft that Vladimir Putin described as "the best in the world." Though it is the fighter with the best parameters regarding the Russian air force fleet, the Su-57 has rarely appeared over Ukraine during the ongoing conflict. This is partly because the Russian Federation is believed to have only a dozen copies of this aircraft. Moreover, they cannot conduct mass production due to problems resulting from sanctions. The industry struggles to obtain the appropriate parts.

The Su-57 was generally created as a response to the American F-22 Raptor. Although work on the Russian fighter began at the beginning of the 21st century, the first flight did not occur until 2010, and by 2024, mass production had still not begun.

The fighter is powered by two Saturn AL-41F engines, which propel the aircraft to Mach 2, or over 1,500 mph. In addition, the Su-57 can operate at a high altitude of up to 12 miles, while its range exceeds 2,200 miles. On 12 weapon hardpoints (six external and six internal), there is space for various types of missiles and bombs, including modern Kh-59 and Kh-69 missiles. The Su-57 can also detect hostile flying objects within a range of up to 250 miles, thanks to its built-in radar.

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