Russia Awards Fighter Pilot With ‘Order of Courage’ For Landing His Su-25 Aircraft After MANPAD Hit

A Russian pilot has been awarded for successfully landing his Su-25 aircraft after being struck by a MANPAD (Man-Portable Air Defense System), the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced.

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On May 27, the Russian MoD announced that a pilot flying a Su-25 attack aircraft, which sustained damage from a man-portable anti-aircraft missile system (MANPAD), has been honored with an award. 

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense on their Telegram channel, on May 23, 2023, a Su-25 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces, under the command of the flight commander of the Su-25 aviation squadron, was targeted by enemy MANPADS.

The Ministry of Defense provided further details, confirming that the pilot successfully managed to stabilize the damaged combat aircraft and skillfully navigated it to the nearest airfield. He was honored with the prestigious Order of Courage, recognizing his piloting skills.

The ministry’s statement, while confirming the pilot’s remarkable achievement and the subsequent awarding of the Order of Courage, did not provide specific details regarding the location and timing of the incident. 

Photo: Press Service of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Furthermore, it did not clarify the precise nature of the aircraft’s mission when the enemy’s MANPADS targeted it.  

Months before this recognition, Russia awarded Su-27 pilots for successfully intercepting a US MQ-9 Reaper drone, causing the US-made drone to crash into the Black Sea. 

Meanwhile, on May 27, the Russian MoD also announced that the crew members of the Russian reconnaissance vessel Ivan Khurs, who successfully neutralized Ukrainian naval drones, were honored with military state awards.

The soldiers were presented with the Order of Naval Merit and Ushakov medals for successfully carrying out their military duties.

The defense ministry highlighted that the servicemen demonstrated remarkable vigilance by promptly detecting fast-approaching targets near the Russian ship. 

The ministry explained that following the orders of Captain 3rd Rank Igor Taran, the ship’s commander, the servicemen successfully neutralized the unmanned boats using standard weapons MAT, ensuring a safe distance between the ship and the threat. 

Western-Made Drones Attacked Ivan Khurs

RIA Novosti news agency, citing sources, on May 27, reported that the boats responsible for the attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s ship “Ivan Khurs” were launched from a naval operations center in Ochakov, which reportedly had involvement from the United States.

“These devices were launched from the naval operations center, opened with the participation of the United States in Ochakovo back in 2018,” as per the agency’s source.

The report said that the control of these devices was facilitated through Starlink satellite internet modules that were provided to Kyiv by the United States, the report said. 

The report further alleged that the drones involved in the ship attack received target designation from American reconnaissance equipment. 

Additionally, the appearance of the Ukrainian marine drones (of the Mykola type) does not match the profile of the attacking devices. 

File Image: Su-27

According to the agency’s source, a new batch of Western-made naval UAVs, possibly originating from Great Britain, has been supplied to Kyiv for maritime operations and potential provocations in the Black Sea.

The sabotage against the Russian Navy in Turkey’s exclusive economic zone is reportedly seen as part of a strategy by the “Anglo-Saxons” to escalate and broaden the conflict geographically. 

The source further highlighted the significant inflow of weapons into Ukraine, the support for the Kyiv regime, and the provision of intelligence to the Ukrainian Armed Forces for strikes on Russian military installations. 

As concluded by the agency’s source, these developments increasingly involve NATO countries in the conflict, potentially leading to a confrontation with Russia and carrying severe consequences for NATO member states.

While Russia maintains that the Ukrainian drones failed to reach the ship successfully, the Ukrainian defense ministry has released footage showing at least one surface drone approaching the naval vessel. It is believed that this drone caused damage to the ship. 

File Image: Russia repels attack on its ship

In light of these events, Admiral Valentin Selivanov, former Chief of the General Staff of the Navy, stated in an interview with Izvestia on May 25 that individual attacks by unmanned boats on ships of the Black Sea Fleet pose a minimal danger if the targeted ship is equipped with machine guns. 

However, he emphasized the need to implement protective measures in areas where unmanned surface vehicles pose a clear threat, as reconnaissance ships are not designed for combat purposes.

On May 26, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the ship Ivan Khurs had safely arrived at its permanent base in Sevastopol. The ministry further stated that once the ship replenishes its material reserves in Sevastopol, it will resume its duties in accordance with its designated mission.