Cheap Ukrainian Drone Destroys Top Russian Fighter Jet

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One of Russia’s advanced Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighters was allegedly destroyed by a Ukrainian drone that was almost 589 kilometers behind the front lines.

Satellite images of the aftermath have been released to the public, and Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency (GUR) released news of the attack on its Telegram channel, stating: “The images show that on June 7, Su-57 was still intact, but on June 8, craters from the explosion and distinctive fire spots emerged near it due to the fire damage.” The image reportedly depicts a Su-57 parked under an uncovered shelter structure, though there is little information to indicate the extent of damage inflicted on the jet.

According to Interesting Engineering, the Su-57 is a supersonic, twin-engine, fifth-generation stealth fighter jet that’s considered Moscow’s response to Western stealth jets like the F-22 Raptor. The Ukrainian Telegram post mentioned that the Su-57 can launch Kh-59 and Kh-69 cruise missiles, which could be used against Ukraine from the safety of Russian airspace.

However, it must be noted that Su-57 use in Ukraine is likely restricted, as Russia is likely attempting to avoid “reputational damage, reduced export prospects, and the compromise of sensitive technology” that would result from losing any Su-57 jets in enemy territory.

Former Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said about the Su-57: “The aircraft has a very high degree of protection against various air defense systems, has protection against missiles … Most importantly, it has very powerful weapons. We also tried and tested these weapons, and they worked brilliantly.”

The GUR Telegram post also said that the Russian Aerospace Forces currently have only a limited number of these combat aircraft in service, meaning that even the loss of a single fighter jet will likely be a major inconvenience.

If this report is accurate, this drone attack will represent another success for Kyiv’s inexpensive drones in targeting valuable Russian assets.