The Russian Air Force has reportedly used four of its new Sukhoi Su-57, fifth-generation fighter jets, to carry out attacks against Ukrainian air defense systems.
According to RIA Novosti, a source close to the operation reportedly said that four Su-57 fighter jets, working in a network, were used to identify and destroy Ukrainian air defense systems.
“The Russian Aerospace Forces conducted an operation to identify and destroy Ukrainian air defense systems using a flight of four newer Su-57 multirole fighters . The aircraft were combined in an information network through automatic communication, data transmission, navigation and real-time identification systems,” the source told the Russian news agency.
The source noted that “combining aircraft in a single information space increases the efficiency of identifying and hitting targets.” He also specified that the low visibility to the Su-57’s radar was confirmed.
This is not the first time that Russian media sources claim that Su-57s are involved in combat operations over Ukraine, but it is the first time that the type of mission is specified.
A good experience and better marketing
While it is true that an aircraft of the Su-57’s characteristics should prove useful for suppression of anti-aircraft defense (SEAD) missions, possessing low radar signature and modern sensors, only four aircraft are not enough to guarantee the nullification of Ukrainian medium and high altitude air defense capabilities.
But it does serve the Russian Aerospace Forces for generating experience and doctrine in real operational conditions of a new combat system. And for the industry it has the additional commercial utility of being able to put the “combat proven” label on its most outstanding product, with a view to future exports.
For the Sukhoi Su-57s to produce significant and measurable results over Ukraine, Russia will have to significantly increase the number of operational units on the front line.