Russia Uses Su

The British Defense Ministry has confirmed, after analyzing satellite photographs, that Russia is using five fifth-generation Sukhoi-57 fighters (NATO codename, Felon), against targets in Ukraine. The first rumors that the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) had deployed some of these aircraft for operations against Kiev’s air defense systems had emerged in June 2022, when the news was spread by Russian sources but appeared as a declaration of supremacy aerial which then, in reality, had proved to be non-existent.

The truth is that it seems that the Vks currently has only five specimens, which, although “combined in an information network through automatic systems of communication, data transmission, navigation and identification in real time”, as announced by the Kremlin in June, do not they are invulnerable and on the other hand they are extremely expensive to produce and manage. The fact that the Felons, which are fifth-generation supersonic fighter jets equipped with anti-radar technologies and advanced avionics, can fly in the Ukrainian skies means that the defenses of Kiev, now based almost exclusively on NATO systems, could necessarily be put to the test .

The British satellite images taken on 25 December made it possible to identify the presence of five Su-57 Felons at the Aktyubinsk air base, a facility that houses the 929th Flight Experimental Group, and this would suggest that the five specimens are still pre series. The base is located a few tens of kilometers from Volgograd, therefore almost 700 km away from the front, too far to undertake sorties without refueling in flight, but far enough not to be at risk of Ukrainian war actions undertaken from the territory controlled by Kiev .

Again according to British military analysts, the missions of the Su-57 are probably limited to the launch of long-range air-to-surface or air-to-air missiles against Ukrainian targets, but fired while remaining within the safety of Russian airspace for fear that, due to a action or a technical malfunction, one of these aircraft could end up crashing into enemy territory and its technology could be analyzed by NATO forces. Another factor that Moscow considers dangerous is the possibility of losing a Su-57 during war operations with the spread of the news in the West, a fact that would seriously damage the reputation of Russian military technology, which has already been hit hard since the beginning of the conflict, impacting negatively on the export expectations of the aeronautical sector.

In fact, it must be considered that one of the selling points that Moscow boasts with the nations interested in any version of the Talon is that its anti-radar technology is actually effective and that no NATO radar has so far been able to detect, recognize and track the aircraft in flight. True or not, it is instead probable that in the pre-production phase, by increasing the operational use of the Talon, some of its vital elements may still show operational immaturity with all the consequences that this could entail. What the actual production rate of the Su-57 is today remains a mystery: in 2019 the Russian Defense signed a contract with Sukhoi for the supply of 76 specimens by 2028, with the first delivery of 22 units by the end of 2024.

The history of the Talon has always been surrounded by some mystery: the first specimen defined as “series” should have been delivered at the end of December 2020 but on the 22nd it crashed during a test near Khabarovsk. After that episode, the construction rate was accelerated at the Knaapo plant in Komsolosk on Amure (Khabarovsk Territory, in the Far East of Russia). Where the Sukhoi factories are based, from which, however, they cannot produce more than 20 specimens a year.

Russia Uses Su-57 Fighters in Ukraine: Here’s the Evidence