There are allegations that a Russian Su-35 plane may have been shot down near Tokmak by friendly fire

It seems that Russia has lost another Su-35 Flanker-E Multirole fighter on Friday.

The Fighterbomber Telegram channel linked to the Russian Air Force (VKS) posted a short and solemn message on Friday with a photo of a wingman.

“Eternal journey, brother…”

The loss of the wing has not yet been officially confirmed by Russian or Ukrainian authorities. However, a video appeared on social media purporting to be of Russian air defenses activated near the occupied city of Tokmak in Zaporizhzhya Oblast, and several Telegram channels suggested without verification that the plane was mistakenly shot down by friendly fire.

The Russian WarGonzo Telegram channel published: “Video of the downing of the Russian Su-35 plane tonight.” He added, “The Russian air defense did its best and opened fire on the friendly forces.”

“… Tokmak is restless,” the Ukrainian War Monitor Telegram channel wrote. “Very early – shooting down an enemy tactical aircraft. “We are waiting for details in the morning.”

Later, War Monitor posted an update.

“The good news is that the Su-35s of the Russian air defense forces are not used at night over Tokmak.”

Tokmak is A prime target of Ukraine’s ongoing counterattack It crosses the Zaporizhzhya region and is about 20 miles from Ukrainian lines and is within the range of air defense systems such as the Ukrainian SA-11 system. Book.

Tokmak is located about 20 miles from Ukraine’s front lines. (Google Earth image)

The wings served in several roles, such as air-to-air and air-to-surface combat – including suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) sorties. With powerful radar and long-range air-to-air weapons, in addition to… Advanced Electronic Warfare GroupSu-35 aircraft outperform Ukrainian fighters It proved to have a great advantage.

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“Interestingly, this still seems to happen periodically, even though the Russian Aerospace Forces use very strict command and control over fighter operations, which hampers effectiveness but should make avoiding collisions with ground-based air defenses relatively simple,” an expert said. Military aviation Justin Bronk. Senior Research Fellow in Air Force and Military Technology at RussiaLondon and second professor at Royal Norwegian Air Force AcademyHe said in a tweet about the incident.

Bronk appeared to be commentating by default, without confirming Flanker’s loss.

He added that the Flanker’s operation near the front line was “unusual.” “VKS is generally careful to stay out of coverage of known and suspected Ukrainian SAMs.” This is a tactic that has been omnipresent not long after Russia’s full-scale invasion began and its air arm failed to achieve air superiority over Ukraine.

Such a loss would be “a perfect example of how much chaos a few drone strikes or long-range missile strikes can cause by keeping the enemy’s air defense network highly readied and ready to fire,” said Gary Bagwell, the former top commander of the Air Force. British Royal Air Force and Chief of Staff. the UK Aerospace Energy Association And Russia “Distinguished Colleague,” he said in response to Bronk. “Saturating or damaging the enemy’s AD system is a relatively simple element of [suppression of enemy air defenses] SEAD campaign.”

Like Bronk, he seemed to be speaking virtually.

However, the assessment matches the explanation given to us by the commander of the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Directorate as to why Kiev launched attacks on Russian air defenses with… Drones and missiles.

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One reason, Lieutenant-General Kirilo Budanov said, is “because we make those things Gaps in comprehensive air defense coverage. Those holes are exploited for other things. We are also depleting their stock of air defense missiles because these stocks are not unlimited.”

You can read more about Budanov’s insights in our exclusive interview from his capital hotel room last week here.

Open source tracking group Oryx said this is the case At least a fifth Su-35 Russia has lost since the start of the all-out war. This number may be higher because Oryx only calculates losses that it can visually verify. In this case, it is Based on its evaluation On the alleged air defense video and fighter-bomber statement we mentioned earlier in this story.

Russia has lost about 90 fixed-wing aircraft in combat since the beginning of the war About 900 tactical aircraft That was before February 24, 2022, according to the UK Ministry of Defence. 68573bae52d3b695182%7Ctwcon%5Es1_\ %2FWARZONE%2Situation-report-in-Ukraine-Russia-gained-the-largest-land-this-year

If it turns out that the Flanker was indeed shot down by a Russian air defense system, it would not be the first time this has happened in Ukraine.

In July 2022, Russia appears to have shot down one of its planes Su-34 Fullback attack fighter While flying over the occupied Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine. You can read more about that incident, which was apparently captured in the video below, in our story here. 430d0477039d52d690%7Ctwcon%5Es1_\ %2F-War Zone%2Situation-Report-in-Ukraine-Russia-Phenomenon Downing-its-Su-34-Strike-Fighter

Ukraine also lost fighters due to its air defenses. One of its MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters was shot down in January by the Osa air defense system operated by the Ukrainian military, according to Bloomberg News. Aero key Aviation news website.

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These things happen from time to time in highly contested airspace during an all-out war. However, given Budanov’s pledge to continue destroying Russian air defenses and Bagwell’s suggestion that such a campaign creates an additional level of wartime confusion that might allow these incidents to occur, Russian fighter jets may face increased risks of their own.

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