In a sensational development, Ukrainian forces reportedly downed four Russian aircraft on May 13, 2023 – two Russian Mi-8 helicopters, one Su-34 fighter bomber, and one Su-35S fighter.
BREAKING: Ukraine claims RUSSIA LOST 4 AIRCRAFT in ONE DAY!!!
Two Mi-8s Attack Helicopters, one Su-35 and one Su-34 were shot down/crashed in Bryansk region.#aircraft #Su34 #Su35 #Mi8 #crash #helicopter #fighterjet #Bryansk #Ukraine #Russia pic.twitter.com/uqxBNhKvD2
— EurAsian Times (@THEEURASIATIMES) May 13, 2023
No concrete video evidence of the Su-35S shootdown has been released till the time of posting this report.
The stunning Ukrainian air combat shootdown today occurred in Russian airspace in the Bryansk region. It followed an equally stunning Ukrainian missile strike on an industrial facility in Luhansk yesterday.
One Mi-8 helicopter was downed over Russian territory in the Bryansk region bordering Ukraine. Both pilots were reportedly killed. Video footage of the Mi-8 shootdown released on social media suggests a surface-to-air (SAM) missile hit. The second Mi-8 was reportedly downed in the Klintsy area of the Bryansk region.
Also, video footage released on social media purportedly showed the burning wreckage of the Su-34 that crashed in Russian territory in the Bryansk region. Unconfirmed reports suggest both the pilots in the Su-34 were killed.
❗️ Another Russian fighter jet was shot down today near Bryansk
Russian media are reporting that four aircraft were shot down in the Bryansk region today.
According to their information, these were two Mi-8 helicopters and two fighters Su-34 and Su-35, which were returning from… pic.twitter.com/VB6106GQhv
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) May 13, 2023
It is unknown if SAMs or air-to-air missiles shot down the Russian Aerospace Force (RuAF) fighters.
The shootdown today followed massive RuAF strikes on ammunition depots in Khmelnytskyi, West Ukraine, earlier in the day, with reports pointing to the use of several Geran-2 drones.
The Russian strike could have been a face-saving retaliation for yesterday’s Ukrainian missile attack in the Luhansk region.
Storm Shadow Strike On Luhansk
According to a statement by the RuMoD, “On May 12 around 6.30 pm Moscow time, AFU Air Force combat aircraft launched a missile attack on Polipak polymer products company and Milam meat processing plant in Luhansk.
“The strike was carried out using Storm Shadow missiles supplied to the Kyiv regime by the UK, contrary to London’s claims that these weapons would not be used on civilian targets.
“As a result of the strike, a fire broke out on the territory of Luhansk food and chemical industries. Some nearby residential buildings are destroyed. Civilians, including six children, were injured. Russian Aerospace Forces fighter aircraft shot down AFU Su-24 aircraft that attacked Luhansk and MiG-29 fighter that was covering it.”
The most outstanding feature of the Luhansk strike was its technical sophistication and excellent coordination, indicative of a very high standard of training.
Ukraine reportedly used two Storm Shadow cruise missiles in the Luhansk strike. The launch of the Storm Shadow missiles by the Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft (which Russia claims to have shot down) was evidently preceded by the launch of ADM-160 decoy missiles to light up Russian AD radars, which were then struck using MiG-29 launched AGM-88 HARM missiles.
The use of ADM-160 decoys is the first recorded in the conflict. The US had not announced the supply of the decoys to Ukraine, which would explain why Russian AD units were easily baited into engaging them.
The Su-24 is a heavy fighter and likely the only one in the Ukrainian Air Force inventory capable of carrying the 1,300-kilogram Storm Shadow missile.
The element of surprise was critical to Ukrainian successes yesterday and today. Russia will inevitably adapt to introducing new weapon systems in the conflict, as well as improved Ukrainian coordination.
It will develop tactics to neutralize some of the advantages gained by Ukraine. However, the process will take time and training. Ukraine could exploit the time to inflict other painful blows ahead of its planned counteroffensive.
- Vijainder K Thakur is a retired IAF Jaguar pilot. He is also an author, software architect, entrepreneur, and military analyst. VIEWS PERSONAL
- Follow the author @vkthakur