Ukrainian strike hits Russia’s prized Su-57 stealth jets

The Akhtubinsk base lies a staggering 365 miles behind the current frontlines in eastern Ukraine, highlighting Kyiv’s growing ability to strike deep behind enemy lines.

Ukrainian forces claim to have scored a significant blow against Russia’s elite fighter aircraft. According to Kyiv’s military intelligence agency GUR, a strike on the Akhtubinsk airfield in southern Russia’s Astrakhan region damaged at least one, and possibly two, of Moscow’s advanced Su-57 stealth fighter jets.

The Akhtubinsk base lies a staggering 365 miles behind the current frontlines in eastern Ukraine, highlighting Kyiv’s growing ability to strike deep behind enemy lines. GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov stated that preliminary information suggested two of Russia’s fifth-generation, twin-engine Su-57s may have been impaired in the audacious raid.

Intended as Moscow’s answer to America’s F-22 Raptor, the Sukhoi Su-57 represents the cutting edge of Russian fighter technology. With its stealth design, supercruise capability, and formidable armaments, the Su-57 is a key component of Russia’s future air combat strategy. However, only a handful are currently operational, with more than 70 additional jets scheduled for delivery in the coming years.

Russia has been hesitant to risk its precious Su-57 fleet in the conflict with Ukraine. As Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Ilya Yevlash noted last month, Moscow has made limited deployments of the jets, keeping them well clear of Kyiv’s air defences.

If confirmed, this strike would mark the first time Ukraine has successfully targeted Russia’s most advanced fighter aircraft. It remains to be seen how the losses, if any, will impact Russian operations and deployments of the Su-57 going forward.

The apparent vulnerability of even Russia’s elite forces to Ukrainian strikes hundreds of miles within its borders underscores the continually evolving threat posed by Kyiv’s forces. As the war grinds on, Russia may face increasing difficulties protecting its valuable rear assets and infrastructure.