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British intelligence states Russian Air Force operates Su-57 Felon fighters in Ukraine war.

| 2023

British intelligence is convinced that the Russian Aerospace Forces use 5 units of the latest Su-57 fighter jets to carry out missile strikes on the territory of Ukraine, reports. According to British intelligence, the first cases of the use of the Su-57 for attacks against Ukrainian targets date back to June 2022. But until now, Russia has been afraid to send Su-57 fighter jets into Ukrainian airspace lest they be shot down by Ukrainian air defenses, British intelligence officials say. Hence, they are said to be based about 500 km from Ukraine. However, it is not very clear what is new in this information of British intelligence, which was disseminated today by the Ukrainian press, writes.

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British intelligence claims Russian Air Force operates Su 57 Felon fighters in Ukraine war 1 On 19 October 2022, Russian army general Sergey Surovikin, commander of all Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, stated the Su-57 has been used both in air-to-air and air-to-ground roles during the war in Ukraine (Picture source: Hungary Posts)

In May 2022, Russian sources claimed that Su-57 fighters were used two or three weeks after the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, striking targets with missiles outside of the zone of activity of Ukrainian air defenses, just like other Russian aircraft that are also restricted mainly to Russian airspace. In June 2022, RIA Novosti reported four Su-57s working in a network were used in the SEAD role over Ukraine to identify and destroy Ukrainian air defense systems. The source also noted that its low radar visibility was demonstrated in combat.

On 19 October 2022, Russian army general Sergey Surovikin, commander of all Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, stated the Su-57 has been used both in the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles during the war in Ukraine and that it has scored kills in both roles. Subsequently, some Russian sources claimed the Su-57 shot down a Ukrainian Su-27 with a long-range R-37 missile. However, no evidence for these claims has surfaced.

Meanwhile, in December 2022, the American press reported that the Su-57 aircraft had not yet entered service with any specific Russian military aviation formation, although the Russian Ministry of Defense had already received the first batches of these aircraft. That is, from June 2022, aircraft could be used in Ukraine not as part of specific aviation units, but in order to test their combat capabilities.

The Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name: Felon) is a twin-engine stealth multirole fighter aircraft. It is the product of the PAK FA (Perspektivnyy Aviatsionnyy Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii, lit. "prospective aeronautical complex of front-line air forces" programme, which was initiated in 1999 as a more modern and affordable alternative to the MFI (Mikoyan Project 1.44/1.42). Sukhoi's internal designation for the aircraft is T-50. The Su-57 is the first aircraft in Russian military service designed with stealth technology and is intended to be the basis for a family of stealth combat aircraft.

A multirole fighter capable of aerial combat as well as ground and maritime strike, the Su-57 incorporates stealth, supermaneuverability, supercruise, integrated avionics, and substantial internal payload capacity. The aircraft is expected to succeed the MiG-29 and Su-27 in the Russian military service and has also been marketed for export. The first prototype aircraft flew in 2010, but the program would experience a protracted development due to various structural and technical issues that emerged during trials, including the destruction of the first production aircraft in a crash before its delivery.

On 15 May 2019, the acquisition plan drastically changed when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that 76 aircraft would be purchased and delivered to the Aerospace Forces by 2028. This came after the negotiations were able to lower the price of the Su-57 and equipment by 20%. The contract for the 76 aircraft was formally signed on 27 June 2019 at the International Military-Technical Forum «ARMY-2019».The same month, General Director of Tactical Missiles Corporation (KRTV) Boris Obnosov reported, a contract for serial production of ammunition for Su-57 fighters was signed, and is being inducted. Serial production of the aircraft began in July 2019, with the first production aircraft scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year; following the crash of the first production aircraft, the Russian Aerospace Forces[N 2] took delivery of its first Su-57 in December 2020.

As of 2022, international sanctions on Russia's defence industries may hamper the development of the Su-57, as Russia could not import semiconductors and high-tech machining equipment from the European Union. By May 2022, four more aircraft were delivered, and production has progressed slower than planned. The UAC reported that an upgraded Su-57 aircraft made its first flight on October 21, 2022. It is yet unclear whether this airframe represents a Su-57M, as the "second-stage engine" (alluding to the Izdeliye 30) was reportedly not mounted. The flight was carried out by Russian test pilot Sergey Bogdan.

British intelligence states Russian Air Force operates Su 57 Felon fighters in Ukraine war 2 Defence Intelligence analysis of this satellite image, dated 25 December 2022, identified five Su-57 FELON multirole aircraft at Akhtubinsk airfield, Russia (Picture source: Twitter account of the UK MoD on January 9, 2023)

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