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Ukraine allegedly battered a Russian fighter regiment, shot down a quarter of its crew

A Su-34 belonging to the 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment.

Wikimedia Commons

The aggressive counterattack of the Ukrainian armed forces in the south and east from late August has devoured the most important formations of the Russian army several times. Elite 1st Guards Tank Army and its support No. 1 144th Guards Motor Rifle Division , to name two. In addition, the indispensable 3rd Corps ) – the main reserve of the Kremlin for the war in Ukraine.

We may have to add one of the best fighter regiments of the Russian Air Force to the list. In seven months of intense fighting, Ukrainian air defenses reportedly shot down what was believed to be a quarter of the crew of the 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment in Morozovsk, western Russia, near the Ukrainian border.

A Russian blogger for a popular aviation channel mentioned the loss in an emotional post. “There is a regiment of bombers and every fourth crew member is shot down,” they

wrote .

No. 559 BAR is the bomber closest to Ukraine and over the most active team battlegrounds.

When Russia expanded its war against Ukraine starting in late February, the force had as many as 36 twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic Su-34 fighter jets in its inventory. Since then, the Ukrainians have shot down 14 Su-34s, independent analysts can confirm, in addition to 43 other Russian fighters and attack aircraft.

It is clear that most of the Su-34 lost in Russia belonged to the 559th BAR. itsno Visible how many crew members survived and returned to base to fly and fight again.

The Su-34 on paper is one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world. A variant of the highly evolved Su-27 air superiority fighter, with side-by-side seats and special sensors for the ground attack role, the Su-34 promises to usher in a new era of high-tech precision bombing for the Russian Air Force.

Instead, the Su-34 flew into Ukraine with the same old duds of the same type as other Russian fighter jets. The lack of precision-guided munitions — not to mention Russia’s theory that planes are essentially flying artillery — forced the $50 million Su-34 to fly low over Ukraine’s thickest air defenses to have a chance to drop bombs with any degree of accuracy .

So it should come as no surprise that the Section 559 BAR has fallen sharply. Russia is losing Su-34s far faster than it can replace them. The Russian Air Force ordered the first batch of 32 Su-34s back in 2008. A second batch of 92 was ordered in 2012. As of 2021, the Russians have about 122 Su-34s in several regiments, including the 559th BAR. Now they are reduced to no more than 108 people.

The 559th Air Force – and the entire Russian Air Force – hasn’t shed blood yet. If anything, it lost more jets than ever before. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on Saturday claimed

Its forces shot down four Russian fighter jets in just 24 hours: one Su-34, two Su-30s and one Su-25.

In the first week or so of the double Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south and east, the Russian Air Force was nowhere to be found . Ukrainian troops have close air support . Russian troops… no.

Analysts blame the absence of the Russian Air Force on the enduring strength of the Ukrainian Air Force-defense, and the Russian doctrine of air combat, i.e. designation Warplanes bombed pre-planned targets. The Russian Air Force did not train its pilots to think and act independently—a prerequisite for tracking moving targets.

When the enemy is moving, Russian air power struggles to keep up. The Ukrainian offensive in the region has slowed after the Russians retreated from the eastern Kharkov region – Russian air forces returned to the battlefield and bombed positions recently withdrawn by Russian troops and occupied by Ukrainian troops.

On September 15, two Russian aircraft — at least one of which was a Su-34 — bombed Ukrainian positions outside the town of Spirne in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

No one fought back, perhaps indicating that Ukrainian air defenses were behind the front battalion advancing into Spearny.

The situation changed very quickly. On Friday, a video emerged online depicting a Ukrainian Strela surface-to-air missile vehicle, allegedly belonging to the 25th Airborne Brigade, driving into Yatskivka, 40 miles northwest of Spirny, Donbas. The next day, the Russians reportedly lost two jets – a Su-25 and a Su-30 – in the same area.

Two days later Another video reveals one of the open secrets of Ukrainian air defense success. The video depicts a new ex-German Cheetah mobile anti-aircraft gun of the Ukrainian army, accompanied by an Osa surface-to-air missile vehicle somewhere near Kharkiv.

The German government has committed to supply Ukraine with 50 vintage 1980s cheetahs, which the German army removed from service around 2010. Cheetahs with built-in radar can fire 35mm jet-diameter shells to a distance of three miles.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian officials listed cheetahs as one of the key enablers of the counteroffensive. Long-range surface-to-air missile preemptive strike. The cheetah opened fire next.

Clearly, conditions are now very good for the Cheetah and other Ukrainian air defenses. Russian troops are retreating. The Russian Air Force is flying more sorties to cover the withdrawal. And it keeps them flying close to all those Ukrainian missiles and guns.

The same blogger who lamented the loss of Section 559 BAR also expected More losses to come. “More will be shot down.”

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