Images and videos have been circulating online of the wreckage of a Russian Su-35S that has reportedly been shot down by Ukraine defence forces on April 3.
The 4.5 generation fighter is the first of its type to be shot down since Russia’s invasion on February 24 and was seen downed near Izium in eastern Ukraine. With the armaments visible on the wrecked airframe, there is strong speculation that the aircraft was on a suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) mission prior to being shot down.
A report in the Daily Mail claims the Flanker was shot down by the anti-aircraft missile troops of the Ukrainian Air Force, although the cause has not been independently confirmed. It is also believed that Ukrainian personnel were the source of the online footage.
It remains unconfirmed what type of anti-aircraft missile system was used to shoot down the Su-35, although the type is clear due to its wingtip pods and heat shielded stabilizers. In mid-March Justin Bronk, airpower research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, said that around 20 Russian fast jets had been lost in the war.
The pilot in control of the downed fighter ejected and is believed to have been captured by Ukrainian ground forces.