TechRussian strike devastates Ukrainian air force, loses key Su-27 jets

Russian strike devastates Ukrainian air force, loses key Su‑27 jets

Myrhorod Air Base
Myrhorod Air Base
Images source: © Getty Images | Anadolu
Norbert Garbarek

2 July 2024 22:24

The Ukrainians lost at least two Su-27 fighter jets in an attack by the Russian Federation army on Monday, 1 July. However, this is not the end of the losses suffered by the defenders at the Myrhorod airport (in the Poltava region), located about 145 kilometres from the front line.

The Monday attack conducted by Russian forces will significantly impact the condition of the Ukrainian Air Force. According to Forbes, the Russian Federation had identified at least six supersonic Su-27 fighter jets parked in the open at the Myrhorod airbase.

The effects of the aerial survey did not take long to materialise. The Russian army launched an Iskander missile towards the airport, hitting the designated target. The Ukrainian losses proved significant, as the Russians destroyed two Su-27 jets during the shelling, while four others were damaged.

Forbes notes that the attack on 1 July could be "one of the costliest days for the Ukrainian Air Force since the beginning of the Russian invasion". As we read, the Ukrainian Air Force had about 125 Su-27, Su-25, MiG-29, and other aircraft before the war began. According to the Oryx group's findings, Ukrainians lost at least 90 machines during 28 months of frontline fighting. "These losses are unaffordable"—writes Forbes, reminding that American F-16 fighter jets, which Russian artillerymen and drone pilots will undoubtedly target, are expected to arrive in Kyiv soon.

Ukrainians lost valuable aircraft

The Su-27 interceptors are among the better machines currently available to the Ukrainians—but are also present in the Russian Federation's arsenal. Although it is an airframe dating back to the 1970s and has been mass-produced since 1980, it still significantly supports air forces, allowing them to gain air superiority.

Two Saturn Lyulka AL-31F turbofan engines provide the thrust of this interceptor. Each generates over 76 kilonewtons or 122 kilonewtons with afterburner. Thanks to this, the Su-27 can accelerate to a maximum speed of about Mach 1.3 (1,350 kph) at sea level, while at high altitudes (its maximum ceiling reaches 17,400 metres) to even Mach 2.3, that is, 2,450 kph.

The armament this nearly 16-metric-tonne aircraft can carry is also significant. It has 10 hardpoints for a total payload of 6 metric tonnes. Various guided missile rockets (e.g., from the R-27, R-73, or R-60 families) can be mounted under the fighter. A single standard GSh-31-1 30 mm aircraft gun is the primary tool for conducting fire. The maximum range of a fully fuelled Su-27 exceeds 3,700 kilometres.

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