On June 8, 2024, Ukrainian forces successfully targeted and damaged a Russian Su-57 Felon fighter jet at the Akhtubinsk military airfield in the Astrakhan region.

This incident on the ground marks the first recorded combat loss of a fifth-generation aircraft.

The attack involved three kamikaze drones that evaded Russian air defences, travelling approximately 365 miles from the frontline. Satellite images show the Su-57 intact on June 7, but post-attack images from June 8 reveal craters and scorch marks indicative of explosions and fire damage.

Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) commented on the damage: “The pictures show that on June 7th, the Su-57 was standing intact, and on the eighth, there were ruptures from the explosion and characteristic spots of fire caused by fire damage near it.”

With only around 20 Su-57s believed to be in service, the loss of one is significant for the Russian Aerospace Forces. Russian military-affiliated Telegram channels, including Fighterbomber and Russian Military Informant, confirmed the attack and criticized the lack of protective hangars for such advanced aircraft.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jacko
Jacko (@guest_825548)
1 day ago

Oh dear what a shame👌

Something Different
Something Different (@guest_825549)
1 day ago

Would you intercept me, I’d intercept me

Steve
Steve (@guest_825551)
1 day ago

Hard to tell from the photos if it was destroyed or just damaged.

It’s interesting that one of these is that close to the front line, I wonder if they have now been used in combat or still being held back

Erich W
Erich W (@guest_825566)
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Not close to the front line at all – around 600km away. Further than Moscow.

Rowan Maguire
Rowan Maguire (@guest_825576)
1 day ago
Reply to  Steve

Might be a case of ‘damaged beyond economical repair’. Depending on how long the fires burned there could be significant, not visible, warping to the airframe and damage to the outer panels. Shrapnel or debris from the drone could have penetrated anywhere; ruined the radar, completely written off certain avionics, severed electronic or fuel lines ect. Unlike warships, you can’t just patch them up and paint over the holes, or not have to worry to much if a panel has budged slightly. Every last slight nick in the aircraft will affect the way it flies, repairing significant damage to key… Read more »

Steve
Steve (@guest_825716)
18 hours ago
Reply to  Rowan Maguire

Possible but even ukraine said there was a fire nearby not that the aircraft was damaged or destroyed. Hard to know what happened as Russia won’t be honest either way.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_825825)
3 hours ago
Reply to  Steve

Russia has been using them as Stand – Off Missile Carriers/Launch Aircraft.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_825568)
1 day ago

Really interesting. Firstly Russia has few of the SU57 Fallon’s and definitely cannot afford to lose any of these aircraft.
Second it’s nuts that the Russian air force doesn’t house such expensive assets in hardened aircraft shelters
Thirdly. Where is their gbad systems and anti drone defences?
I hope the MOD are paying attention as our own home territories bases need their defences beefing up.

Dern
Dern (@guest_825579)
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

“What air defence doing?” is certainly a theme of the Russians in the last two years.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_825589)
1 day ago
Reply to  Dern

I reckon they have lost so many air defence assets they simply can’t cover even important targets. Not easy to knock up new ones.

Steve R
Steve R (@guest_825612)
1 day ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Which makes sense but then you’d think that, as they don’t seem to really even be using the SU-57s in combat in Ukraine, they’d just move them further east.

If I were an Orc Air Force commander I’d either be using them and keep them in hardened air shelters when they’re on the ground, or if I’m not using them at all have them all flown east of the Urals, well out of range of Ukrainian weapons or drones.

It smacks of arrogance on the Russians’ part as much as anything else.

Dern
Dern (@guest_825670)
21 hours ago
Reply to  Steve R

I suspect they figured that 600 miles from the front line WAS out of range of Ukrainian weapons.

Dern
Dern (@guest_825669)
21 hours ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Given that the list of targets the Ukranian’s have destroyed in strikes includes Russian S-400 air defence systems, I think the problems go deeper than just “not enough asset” tbh.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825621)
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I may be wrong, but not aware that there are HAS in Russia, and not the fairly comprehensive CBR types we see at some RAF Stations.
Going back to when I was reading up on Soviet infrastructure, any HAS were in eastern Europe with GSFG or in Czech or Poland.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_825653)
23 hours ago

That would make sense as essentially the potential front line in the Cold War was over 1500miles from the Russian boarder..Soviet defences were not designed for a war on Russias boarder and post soviet Russia never really had the budget or need for HAS.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825658)
23 hours ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Exactly. Which is why I don’t believe there are any. Russian airfields are fairly rudimentary affairs and, if anything, have revetments as GB says.

Dern
Dern (@guest_825671)
21 hours ago

You see Ivan, why make bespoke airfield when we just say MiG can land in field.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825697)
19 hours ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes, their MiGs are built for that too. Seen photos of M31, SU15, TU128, and M25 in some seriously basic airfields up north, like Andamya. ( unsure of spelling )

Last edited 19 hours ago by Daniele Mandelli
GlynH
GlynH (@guest_825574)
1 day ago

I’ve l aways believed in engineering that “if it looks right, it probably is right”; a Geoffrey de Havilland principle. The Su-57 doesn’t look right, that combined with its thousand year development cycle makes it a most likely a lump of crap; to use the technical phrase 🙂

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_825577)
1 day ago
Reply to  GlynH

The leading edge looks strange but I am no aerodynamicist!

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_825605)
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think in this picture the slats are down which is why the whole thing tilts forwards. The problem is that it is essentially an SU35 fuselage with new wings and nose, so it just looks cobbled together rather than well-designed like the F-35.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_825663)
22 hours ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The usual condition for the deploying leading edge devices is when undertaking a high angle of attack maneuver. These may be high g turns or for landing a delta wind aircraft. I should point out that high g can be achieved at low speed with the leading edge devices deployed as these will significantly delay the onset of a aerodynamic stall. I would also point out Sukhoi have a record of clever aerodynamics mainly because they have traditionally lacked access to the computing power necessary to build aircraft like the F16 which is artificially stable in flight. Post Soviet era… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_825872)
11 minutes ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thanks CR. I always think it unwise to disregard a potential enemy’s equipment because it has a different design philospophy or is less sophisticated. I never underestimated our enemies.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_825590)
1 day ago
Reply to  GlynH

Some have said that the build quality of those spotted is so poor that they may yet like the Armata are little more than prototypes. If not they are certainly fit to be called stealthy.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_825659)
22 hours ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Look at the two massive metal jet exhausts…..the nice cavity between them that will resonate a treat to any WW2 radar….at certain attitudes it will be as stealthy as a block of flats.

There is more to stealth than a few coatings.

And yes, build quality is critical.

Dern
Dern (@guest_825578)
1 day ago

“Sorry we didn’t know it was invisible.”

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_825580)
1 day ago

Billions and billions in hyper expensive very slow to develop and build aircraft to be vulnerable in a fixed airbase….

One more serious warning for Tempest, F-35 etc…

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_825598)
1 day ago
Reply to  AlexS

HAS.

Put them in a HAS not in a revetment.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_825604)
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Noooo don’t you dare go giving them ideas😂

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_825606)
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Do all RAF airbases have HAS?
Or is that another thing that needs urgent investment?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_825607)
1 day ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

I think it’s something that needs urgent investment. I can’t say hand on heart that all our very expensive and all too few frontline typhoon, F35Bs are housed in HAS. I know the primary military bases don’t have gbad. They need land Ceptor, land based AS30s , radar guided guns and ECM/ ECCM abilities. The UK is wide open to attack from cruise and short range ballistic missiles. Launched from Mad Vlad’s subs. Still not sure the Russian armed forces could deliver a coordinated strike against UK as they’ve struggled to string together any sort of air offensive against Ukraine… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_825608)
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

They rarely use HAS clusters these days, it’s nice big shiny hangers……

They might have to reconsider that if the new cold war continues to heat up.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825626)
1 day ago
Reply to  John Clark

Most if our front line fighter force is in HAS mate. Issues are 3 Sqns at Coningsby with only 2 sites and 4 Sqns at Lossi with, I think, only 2 sites.
The reason people think they’re not used now days is that our forces have shrunk so much most of the HAS sites are unused!!

Also, OCUs and OEUs Tend to use the flight line, not be dispersed in HAS miles away from the rest of the station.

That’s why spotters can see lots of Typhoons at Coningsby, they’re on the flight line next to the BBMF.

Last edited 1 day ago by Daniele Mandelli
Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_825613)
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Hopefully one day, some GBAD and SHORAD airfield base protection will appear! Pretty risky not having much or any of it in these times.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825624)
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

They’re not.

Jim
Jim (@guest_825637)
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

The Army’s land Ceptor batteries can and will be deployed to RAF airfields in the event of a war. Just because the RAF does not have GBAD anymore does not mean we are defenceless. As the Donkeys have demonstrated with their S400, GBAD is a really inefficient way to defend an airbase or a country from low flying cruise missiles. High altitude intercept using AWACS is much more effective which we have with the Typhoon and E7. If we are going to invest in UK abased GBAD it should be for Ballistic Missile defence which can only be done by… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825638)
1 day ago
Reply to  Jim

Can, yes. Will, not so sure. That’s not their main role mate. Leaves the Field Army with SHORAD only.
“Field Army” means the deployable warfighting part, so primarily 3 UK Division.

Jon
Jon (@guest_825641)
1 day ago
Reply to  Jim

I thought we didn’t have any E7s yet, and when we get them, there won’t be enough for 24/7 coverage.

What happened to Project Lewis and the on-again off-again purchase of a ground-based ballistic missile defence radar from the United States? Having been delayed to 2029 and then brought forward again a month later, perhaps to the original “mid decade” target date, everything has gone really quiet.

Dern
Dern (@guest_825672)
21 hours ago
Reply to  Jim

It’ll be a cold day in hell before the Army detached SHORAD from 3 UK Div to cover RAF airfields, as Daniele said, those assets are needed to protect the land component in a war, and no commander is going to leave his own troops open to air attack to protect an RAF base that couldn’t bother to disperse (or invest in it’s own SHORAD).

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_825875)
5 minutes ago
Reply to  Jim

The army has precious few Land Ceptor (Sky Sabre) launchers – they are for the AD of the deployed field army, not RAF airfields, although they do protect the RAF base in the Falklands, but that is an exception to the rule.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_825643)
1 day ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Plenty of HAS at RAF Leeming ,use to be 3 SQNs of Tornado F3s late 80s mid 90s ,think there’s a few Hawks still there not to sure.But if ever more Typhoons come along nice home just waiting .But sadly can’t see it happening . 😞 🇬🇧

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825679)
20 hours ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Yes, as I mentioned, I think they we’re the last to be built when the Stn was upgraded for the 3 F3 Sqns.
100 Sqn Hawks are gone mate. The airfield still gets various visitors as Spadeadam is not far away.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_825731)
17 hours ago

Cheers DM 🍺

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_825710)
19 hours ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Heard a story on the radio over the weekend where the Chief of the Defence Staff was quoted (can’t remember if it was a quote or sound bite I was in the car at the time) as saying they are looking at an UK ‘Iron Dome’. Three options were mentioned, a NATO cooperation, a national umbrella or local umbrellas for high value targets (big cities and military infrastructure).

Sounded like it was all very early days and a bit wishy washy as he was talking about being ready to ‘advise’ the next government…

Cheers CR

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_825879)
1 minute ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Radakin was talking about a possible ‘Super Dome’ for UK and Europe. See forces.net

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_825796)
6 hours ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

You would like to think that any sub coming out to launch cruise missiles at the UK would have a tail allocated to it. If it started launching it wouldn’t get many away before it ate a Spearfish

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825816)
3 hours ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Engaging up threat. Keep them in their bastions. Good if the RN and NATO have the assets.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825623)
1 day ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

Morning mate. That’s one I can answer. No, not all RAF Stations have HAS. HAS sites are: RAF Bentwaters. A10s. RAF Woodbridge. A10s. RAF Upper Heyford. F111s RAF Alconbury. ( I think ) RAF Lakenheath. F111s now F15,F35. These were all used by USVF in the UK. Bentwaters is now an industrial estate, so is much of Alcombury, USAF retain the SW part. Out of interest, look on GE east of the runway for the Magic Mountain. Woodbridge is retained by MoD and used by the army. Upper Heyford is also an industrial estate. MoD Boscombe Down also had HAS… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_825673)
21 hours ago

I think RAF Mt Pleasant also has a HAS complex?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825678)
20 hours ago
Reply to  Dern

No, I don’t think so. Happy to be corrected by anyone who has been on the ground there.
I’d heard that years ago and checked. It seems to have a couple of sites with revetment/shelter types, sane for the QRA area closer to the runway.
They, on GE at least, look very different to the HAS found at RAF Airfields.

Dern
Dern (@guest_825696)
19 hours ago

I mean look pretty HAC to me, different design yes, but clearly some of them are shelters that are built underground? (Or at least have dirt piled on top of concrete).

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825699)
19 hours ago
Reply to  Dern

I think it is a case of grass, earth berms for blast with a roof over the top, with no heavy door so sealed for CBRN like the ones in the UK. The aerials are not that detailed so difficult to tell. I’m curious now going to have another look!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825702)
19 hours ago
Reply to  Dern

Put some G Maps links in for comparison and, as expected, in purgatory.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825703)
19 hours ago

RAF Withering LOL!

Pete
Pete (@guest_825582)
1 day ago

Can immediately thing of a dozen uk military sites that would require GBAD . Either dedicated or shared. And before anyone says .. ‘layered defence’…’NATO’ etc…it’s sub launched cruise missiles from eastern Atlantic, Hebrides, around Ireland etc that would pose the greatest day 1 threat.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_825591)
1 day ago
Reply to  Pete

Absolutely.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_825599)
1 day ago

Some reports this morning saying they damaged/ mission killed 2 of them…

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_825615)
1 day ago

Whizzbangs were the fear of British troops in WW1 and the drone is the most feared weapon in this current war. Small, simple and stealthy wins the day and we only at the beginning of this new era.

lordtemplar
lordtemplar (@guest_825642)
1 day ago

a big loss for Russian air force since they only have a handfull of these aircraft