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Russia deploys advanced Su-57 fighters in combat operations against Ukraine.

| Defense News Aerospace 2024

The Russian Air Force recently deployed its most advanced Su-57 fighter jet for combat operations, specifically targeting Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine.
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Russia deploys advanced Su 57 fighters in combat operations against UkraineSu-57 Felon delivered in December 2023 (Picture source: UAC)

On the 18th of February 2024, an operation saw a Su-57, flanked by two Su-35 jets, executing a missile strike against Ukrainian military sites. The mission originated from the Luhansk region, currently under occupation, where the Su-57, accompanied by its escorts, penetrated Ukrainian airspace to conduct a missile launch. The operation reportedly involved the use of a Kh-69 stealth cruise missile designed exclusively for the Su-57. However, due to a malfunction, the missile deviated from its intended path and crashed in a field, failing to hit the target. Despite this setback, there have been previous instances, specifically on February 7 and 8, where the Kh-69 was successfully used in airstrikes. This missile, evolving from the Kh-59MK2, is compatible with various Russian military aircraft.

Furthermore, it has been observed that the employment of the state-of-the-art Su-57 in the missile strike against Ukraine served a dual purpose, with intention to produce a military propaganda film. This production aims to demonstrate the prowess of the Russian defense sector and is anticipated to play a significant role in the narrative leading up to the forthcoming presidential elections in Russia.

The Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO codename: Felon), Russia's premier fifth-generation multirole stealth fighter aircraft, represents a significant leap in the country's military aviation capabilities. Developed by Sukhoi, a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation, the Su-57 is designed to fulfill air superiority and attack roles, boasting advanced stealth technology, supersonic cruising speed, and highly integrated avionics.

One of the most distinctive features of the Su-57 is its stealth capabilities. The aircraft's design incorporates innovative materials and technologies that minimize its radar cross-section, making it less visible to enemy radar systems. This stealth is complemented by its internal weapons bays, which help to maintain its low radar profile while carrying an array of weapons.

The Su-57 is powered by two Saturn izdeliye 30 engines, enabling it to reach supersonic speeds without afterburners, a feature known as supercruise. This capability allows the Su-57 to conserve fuel while maintaining high speeds, extending its operational range and effectiveness in combat scenarios.

Avionics and sensors on the Su-57 include a powerful onboard radar system capable of detecting and engaging multiple targets simultaneously. The aircraft is equipped with an advanced suite of electronic warfare and communications systems, enhancing its situational awareness and survivability on the battlefield. Additionally, the Su-57 features a unique "glass cockpit" design, with digital displays providing the pilot with critical flight and tactical information.

The Su-57's armament is versatile, designed to engage air, ground, and sea-based targets. Its internal bays can carry a mix of Russian-made precision-guided bombs, air-to-air, and air-to-surface missiles. The aircraft is also equipped with a 30mm cannon for close combat situations.

Despite its advanced capabilities, the Su-57's development has faced challenges, including delays and cost overruns. However, it has progressively moved towards operational status within the Russian Air Force, with the first production model delivered in 2020. The Su-57 is seen as a key component of Russia's future air combat capabilities, intended to challenge Western fifth-generation fighters like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

Beyond its military role, the Su-57 is also positioned as a flagship project showcasing Russia's technological prowess and its ability to produce a state-of-the-art stealth fighter that could potentially be offered for export to allied nations, further extending its influence in global defense markets.

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