Flanker In Flames! Yet Another Russia’s Most Powerful Dogfighter – Su-35 Fighter Shot Down Over Ukraine – Kiev Claims

Social and local media is buzzing with reports of another Russian Su-35 fighter jet being shot down by Ukrainian forces. A video of a Russian fighter jet being shot before it crashed to the ground went viral on July 19.

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The warplane, purported to be a Su-35, is seen falling from the sky in the video and leaving a smoke trail in its aftermath. A massive column of black smoke rises into the sky as the jet explodes upon impact with the ground. 

The Command of the Air Force of Ukraine’s Armed Forces claimed in a Facebook post that “at around 20:00 on July 19, a Russian fighter jet, probably a Su-35, was shot down by the anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force of Ukraine’s Armed Forces near Nova Kakhovka.”

The command further alleged that the Ukrainian Air Force’s anti-aircraft missile units gunned down the fighter jet as it attempted to attack Ukrainian Air Force aircraft. Additionally, the report noted that the pilot ejected before the aircraft hit the ground. 

However, it was assumed that Russian forces saved the pilot in time. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry also confirmed that this is yet another Su-35 that Ukrainian forces have shot down. The ministry said that the Russian jet was shot down during heavy fighting in the southern part of the country. 

“The Ukrainian Air Force (yes, once again) shot down a Russian fighter jet Su-35 near Nova Kakhovka, Southern Ukraine,” it said on Twitter. This is not the first time that Ukrainian media reports that a Russian Su-35 fighter jet has been shot down. 

On May 27, it was reported that a Ukrainian Mig-29 shot down a Russian Su-35 in a confrontation in the Kherson region. That incident marked Russia’s second Su-35 loss in the conflict with Ukraine.

Before that, the first Su-35S Flanker-E was destroyed on April 3, 2022, close to Izium in the Kharkiv region. The aircraft was presumably shot down by an anti-aircraft missile fired by the Ukrainian Air Force.

File Image: Su-35

If the reports are to be believed, losing an advanced fighter jet like the Su-35 would be a massive setback for Russia, which has already lost much military hardware in Ukraine. 

The Su-35 is the new generation of the Soviet-era Su-27 fighter jet. The Su-27 eventually evolved into the multi-role Su-35S, much like the US Air Force’s F-15A Eagle air superiority heavy fighter did over time.

It is a twin-engine, multipurpose air superiority fighter equipped with thrust-vectoring nozzles, giving it “super maneuverability.” 

The jet can detect targets at more than 400 kilometers, has 12 hardpoints, a 30mm cannon, and its radar can follow up to 30 targets at once. Without refueling, the fighter has a range of more than 3,500 kilometers. 

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Ukraine’s Air Force command further claimed in the same post that “in the last 24 hours, the Air Force anti-aircraft missile units have shot down five operational-tactical-level unmanned aircraft.”

Meanwhile, it was recently reported that Russian air defense forces downed one of its advanced warplanes taking part in Moscow’s war in Ukraine. At the end of June, Russian Forces saw the arrival of the first modernized Su-34M bombers. 

However, the plane was shot down over Luhansk less than a month later due to friendly fire. Yevgeny Poddubny, a Russian propagandist, is believed to have videotaped the shoot-down over the city of Alchevsk in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine. 

“Last night, the air-defense crew of the allied forces destroyed a target in the sky over Alchevsk,” Poddubny wrote. “The nature of the target is not clear. The burning ball fell to the ground for more than a minute.” 

On July 17, online videos showed what appeared to be air defense systems shot into the sky at night by either Russian forces or separatists from the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic. This was followed by a sizable fireball that fell to the ground. Before the invasion, Russia recognized Luhansk and Donetsk as independent nations. 

A video of the wreckage confirmed the aircraft’s identity: it is a Su-34M with the registration RF-95890. It was one of the ten or so Su-34Ms Sukhoi that had supplied to the Russian air force. 

Russian Air Force Su-34
Russian Air Force Su-34

The Su-34’s basic design uses the Su-27 fighter’s airframe but introduces a cockpit with side-by-side seating for two people. With 12 tons of bombs and missiles, including air-to-air missiles, the Su-34 can reach targets up to 600 miles away.

The new Su-34 variant has a particular interface for a new pod that can hold three different types of sensors. The UKR-RT pod is equipped with electronic search tools. The UKR-OE is a camera pod. The UKR-RL is equipped with a synthetic-aperture radar for locating targets in inclement weather.

Despite their technological prowess, the Russians nonetheless accidentally shot down the Su-34M. The Russians have lost 11 Su-34s over Ukraine, the most recent being RF-95890.