Everything We Know About The Russian Su-25 Frogfoot Jet Shot Down in Syria

Russian Loss Comes During 24-Hour Increase in Airstrikes in Syria’s North-Western Idlib Province.

A Russian Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft was shot down over the city of Maasran in Idlib, Syria, on Feb. 3, 2018. The aircraft, RF-95486/06 Blue (ex Red), was involved in airstrikes in region and had just fired rockets on a ground target.

Video seen on social media shows what appears to be a person, claimed to be the Russian Su-25 pilot, descending by parachute after the aircraft was hit. The BBC reported that Russia’s defense ministry said: “The pilot had enough time to report that he had ejected in an area controlled by the militants of Jabhat al-Nusra.”

Based on report and the above videos the aircraft was hit by a MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System): most probably a Chinese FN-6 passive infrared homing (IR) man portable air defence system known to be in the hands of the Jidahists.

According to reliable sources within the Russian military who spoke to TheAviationist.com, the pilot did reach the ground and then engaged unknown ground forces. Our Russian source tells TheAviationist.com that photos from the scene show the pilot’s personal firearm and that, “One store [ammunition magazine] is completely empty, the other two are consumed more than half. The pilot led the fight.” The source claimed the weapon shown in the photos is a Russian Stechkin automatic pistol or APS. This weapon is widely carried by Russian military and federal law enforcement.

Additional sources on Russian social media report that the pilot carried a grenade and may have detonated it close to himself as insurgent forces closed in on him. There is no official confirmation of this information.

Sources on Twitter claimed the pilot used a grenade in addition to his pistol to engage ground forces. (Photo: via Twitter)

Anyway, the pilot was captured and killed. The Russia-based, independent Conflict Intelligence Team posted photographs they say showed the dead body of the pilot and a paper recommending a man named Major Roman Filipov for a state award that was allegedly filled out by Russian air group commander Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Aksyonov.

Novaya Gazeta quoted an unidentified Defense Ministry source as confirming that the pilot was Filippov. According to the newspaper, he was a Ukrainian pilot from Crimea, the Ukrainian region that Russia annexed in 2014.

Video from alleged to be from the crash scene clearly show the wing of an Su-25 with Russian markings along with a damaged engine and fire among debris.

Video at the crash scene confirmed the aircraft is a Russian Su-25. (Photo: YouTube)

TheAviationist.com showed the Arabic language news broadcast to a translator in Dearborn, Michigan, who told us that the reporter in the video, identified as “Journalist Moazom Al-Chamie”, says the aircraft was shot down by a shoulder fired missile after being spotted by drivers in a truck. The reporter also goes on to say that another Russian Su-25 remained in the area after the incident, and that the men shown in the video hoped to shoot it down as well.

According to Iranian journalist Babak Taghvaee the Su-25 shot down on Feb. 3 was one of six Su-25s of RuAF’s 368 ShAP recently deployed from Sevastopol, Crimea to Hmeymim Air Base, Syria.

The loss of this Su-25 is the 11th Russian aircraft destroyed by enemy action or in accidents during the Russian involvement in the Syrian campaign. Considering the number of combat sorties flown by the Russians over Syria, and the increasing number of man portable air defense systems (MANPADS), these losses could be characterized as low for a campaign of this size.

Russian observers remarked that an absence of infra-red decoy flares being ejected from the Su-25 shown in the videos is unusual. It is common to see a series of bright flares ejected from an aircraft as a countermeasure to heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles.

Video seen on social media showed Su-25 attack aircraft over the same area being engaged by anti-aircraft guns. One video showed an Su-25 taking a near miss as a proximity fused anti-aircraft round detonates near its left wing root.

Following the downing of the Su-25 reports began to appear on Twitter that numerous air strikes were occurring in the area where the aircraft was downed.

The Russian Sukhoi Su-25 is a successful, heavily armored ground attack aircraft roughly comparable to the U.S. A-10 Warthog. (Photo: Russian Air Force)

Top image credit: Ilya the Nightingale

About Tom Demerly 516 Articles
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.

27 Comments

  1. Any source for the FN-6 claim? It’s my understanding Syria/Iraq is littered with SA-7, SA-14/16, SA-18, and even some SA-24’s from Libya. If this was indeed an FN-6 kill, it would make it the first high performance kill for the type outside of rotary aircraft..

  2. First of all, R.I.P. for the brave Major pilot Roman Filippov who fought to the last breath against this evil. His sacrifice will be remembered.

    Shooting down a Russian military aircraft was a huge mistake, if anyone of those who are responsible for this had enough of luck to survive the first retaliation airstrikes, they are about to pay the highest price in the upcoming days. The Russian Air Force and Navy won’t give them a break until the very last of them will be crushed to dust.

    Payback time is coming, you won’t be safe anywhere you go.

    This is just the beginning.

    • Yeah, and innocent civilians will pay for it too.

      No wonder the former warsaw pact countries want to join NATO(or has joined). They know too well the indiscriminatory killing Russians do.

      At least search for the people responsible and target them with as much minimal collateral damage as possible.

      • Yes pepe, despite the successful defeating the IS that occupied almost whole West of Syria when Russia started its operations and that as of now occupies only small territories on the East, it is always just civilians Russians are bombimg in Syria and only terrorists coalition bombs always hit with zero collateral causalities. Meanwhile, even Western media reports about dozens if not hundreds killed in coaliation raids.

        And what does the Russian military operations in Syria have to do with former Warshaw Pact countries? Oh, I forgot, it also helps to minimaze spreading of radical Islamists on the European continent and thus keeping asses of Europeans safe since the leaders of the EU totally failed in doing so.

        • 1. The US actually did more to defeat ISIS than the Russians, who only cared to bomb rebels and civilians. It was the US backed rebels that pushed those terrorists nearly out of the country.

          2. So, you will compare a banana with a chicken nugget. They can only be comparable on that they are food, nothing more. This is what you are doing. Actually targeting the person responsible vs bombing an entire city.

          3. The difference is that NATO admits its fuck ups, and tries to minimize it. Russia doesn’t do that, nor tries to minimize the collateral damage.

          https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/03/syrian-and-russian-forces-targeting-hospitals-as-a-strategy-of-war/

          • “The US actually did more to defeat ISIS than the Russians,”
            No,it didn’t.It literally did an order of magnitude less sorties,and not in relevant areas.
            :”It was the US backed rebels that pushed those terrorists nearly out of the country.”
            No,that was RASF,with over FIFTY THOUSAND confirmed goat-lover kills,and SAA on Russian tanks supported by Russian-crewed artillery.
            “The difference is that NATO admits its fuck ups”
            It pretty much never does.Where is the formal apology for missile strike against AFB where was no chemical weapons?

          • 1. Don’t be ridiculous. The U.S.-led coalition stepped into the Syrian conflict on 22 September 2014 when the ISIS controlled less than 50% of the Syrian territory. During the U.S. presence, the IS captured almost all the key cities and strenghtened its infuence by multiple times. This continued until the 30 September 2015 when the SAA with support of the Russian Air Force began their operations and rapidly managed to reverse the course of the conflict. Suddenly, the IS expansion to the West parts of Syria ended. Afterwards, Russian Forces with SAA successfully liberated the key cities such as Aleppo, Palmyra (2 times), Deir ez-Zor and pushed the IS to the Euphrates river where it was eliminated.

            Current situation.

            https://syria.liveuamap.com/

            The number of airstrikes conducted by the Coalition and Russian Air Force says by itself who did most of the work.

            While since the September 2014 the Coalition conducted about 11,235 strikes, since the September 2015 it was about 90,000 strikes for the Russian Air Force.

            https://www.defense.gov/OIR/

            http://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/[email protected]

            2. If you want to solve a problem you have to solve it entirely not just partially. As for the IS it means it’s not enough to kill just their leaders or generals who can be easily replaced by new ones, they must be eliminated completely, and this is what Russia with SAA are doing. Taking no exceptions.

            3. NATO admits that fuck ups only because someone else pointing out that NATO actually something fucked up. Moreover, not to mention all the NATO’s actions in Syria are illegal, they are fighting there without official invitation, but they are also still attacking the legitimate government forces that are just fighting on their own soil.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/world/middleeast/syria-us-assad.html

            There’s nothing justifiable about this blatant act of war, not when the reason for it is clearly obvious.

            “The clash, on Wednesday night, occurred in an area of eastern Syria where government troops and their allies have competed with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, allied with the United States, to seize territory rich in oil and natural gas.

            “Russia doesn’t do that, nor tries to minimize the collateral damage.”

            Maybe because Russia has no need to admits every biased claim Western media use to spread when it comes to Russia’s actions. The use of laser guided munition in inhabited areas is the best evidence of that Russia is doing the best to minimaze any side damage.

          • Unfortunately civilians always get caught up in war and die. But please don’t peddle your propaganda. The West started the civil war in Syria and has tried to completely destroy another middle eastern country. Russia has played its part in keeping Syria’s sovereignty intact. Russia didn’t start it. You will find the same pattern with western invasions, they bomb infrastructure which plunges the country into poverty. How many people die as a result?

              • Since Vietnam, everyone has had the opportunity to see through the Amercian propaganda machine which manipulates emotions to present a narrative which makes themselves look like the good guys. You my friend still haven’t discerned it yet. The CIA is in the business of overthrowing Governments, there is ample evidence of this fact. They have doing it for years.

      • “Yeah, and innocent civilians will pay for it too”
        Innocent civilians left the zone a long time ago.
        “They know too well the indiscriminatory killing Russians do.”
        No,they don’t.Georgia can attest.

    • Oh, so it only takes the downing of 1 warplane to get you drawn into the Middle East? It took the US the loss of some major skyline to do that. Welcome (back) to the business of blasting people back to the middle ages who really want to be there, and they’re willing to die to do it. Nice to see patriotic Russians can’t come up with anything better than patriotic Americans.

      • The legal way requires only an official invitation of the country where you are about to fight, something the U.S. with its interfering doesn’t know. As far as I know, the 9/11 covers only the intervention to Afghanistan not to the countries they invaded afterwards, so don’t trying it with that one “terrorist” attack gives U.S. ultimate permissions to be in a role of world policeman and supported only by its vassal countries do what it wants.

  3. Firing rockets instead of bombs or guided missiles its cheaper and effective solution yes, but with the cost of flying in low attitude and being vulnerable to manpads.One question though.Why there werent any SAR helicopters nearby with the Su25 during the raids in case of a shot down?Anyway Rip to the pilot and my condolences to his family.He died like a hero fighting till the last moment.

    • It’s the Russian military. I wouldn’t be surprised if the pilots had to pay for the rockets they use out of their own wages.

    • “Why there werent any SAR helicopters nearby with the Su25 during the raids in case of a shot down?”
      Because this isn’t how things are done there.Russia conducts drastically more airstrikes than so-called coalition using a fraction of aircraft.What,do you propose keeping a hundred SAR teams there?
      Also,note that shotdowns just don’t happen.Latest Su-25s have almost inpenetrable AMS system.Almost being key word.

      • How many aircraft, according to you, have been shot down in Syria?

        Also, yes, that should be something Russia should do, offer helicopters in case someone gets shot down. I guess this comes from the old tactics the soviets used, where human life is just not that valuable to them.

  4. Wondering if Russian SU-25, SU-24, SU-27, SU-30, SU-34 and SU-35 deployed in Syria are actually equipped with MAWS (missile approach warning system). IF THE ANSWER IS NO, then shutting down more Russian warplanes employing MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems) will be indeed a piece of cake for the opposing forces, considering that these guys have already in their possession hundreds of those toys.
    THE RUSSIAN AIR OPERATIONS COMMAND BASED IN SYRIA DISPLAYED A TOTAL LACK OF CRITERIA IN SENDING A SU-25 NOT PROPERLY EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH A MANPADS THREAT (AGGRAVATED BY THE FACT THAT THE RUSSIAN AIR FORCE WAS FULLY AWARE THAT REBEL FORCES HAVE ALREADY BEEN SUPPLIED WITH THOSE WEAPONS).

    • Flankers do have integrated MAWS, but older airframes such as Su-24 & 25 definitely don’t, except through upgrade kits we haven’t seen installed so far on the fixed wing aircraft deployed in Syria. Such systems were somehow spotted equipping some Mi-24/35 & Mi-8/17 helicopters that flew round the clock sorties against ISIS in 2016 and 2017.. the name of the upgrade is President-S system.

    • The MAWS is not a magic wand that can detect everything, if the MANPAD is launched from a certain distance it cant detect the exhaust heat of the manpad and in certain weather conditions, can have false alarm etc. All russians SU-25T usually have the “Sukhogruz” – that is a active IR Russian DIRCM countermeasure system. Maybe the system was inoperative in this case.

    • “Wondering if Russian SU-25, SU-24, SU-27, SU-30, SU-34 and SU-35 deployed in Syria are actually equipped with MAWS”
      They usually are equipped with appropriate AMS system.
      Person below mentioned “President-S “,but in reality that’s an export version.
      Vitebsk is vthe version for RASF.

    • The Su-25SM is not equipped with MAWS. Only a Su-25SM3 will have “Vitebsk-25” MAWS & DIRCM.

    • Yes, but I hope that wasn’t operational during the flight, not before. In that case was a shame if he was put in action with a defective airplane.

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