First Russian Su-35S Flanker-E Confirmed Destroyed In Ukraine

The wreckage of the Su-35S that crashed in Ukraine. (via Twitter)

The Su-35S crashed near Izium, Ukraine. It looks like it was configured for SEAD (Suppression Enemy Air Defenses) mission.

Images of the wreckage of an aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) have started to circulate online in the afternoon (European time) on Apr. 3, 2022.  The jet went down near Izium, in eastern Ukraine, some 120 kilometers to the southeast of Kharkiv.

Single seater, without canards, equipped with the L-265M10P/R ECM wingtip pods and featuring heat shields on the stabilizers: the aircraft was quickly identified as an Su-35S Flanker-E multirole 4++ generation supermaneuverable jet. The first to be lost since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

The pilot of the Flanker derivative survived the ejection and was captured by the Ukrainian forces:

According to the Ukrainian sources, the Su-35S was shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses, although this can’t be verified at the moment. A video allegedly showing the aircraft, in flames, coming down, has emerged.

The Su-35S “Flanker E” is the 4++ generation variant of the Su-27 Flanker aircraft.

The multirole aircraft features thrust-vectoring, radar-absorbent paint, Irbis-E passive electronically scanned array radar, IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track), the Khibiny radar jamming system along with the ability to use some interesting weapons, including the ultra-long range R-37M air-to-air missile that could target HVAA (High Value Air Assets) such as AWACS and tanker aircraft.

Dealing with the mission the Su-35S was flying, our contributor and friend Guy Plopsky pointed out the photos of the crash site also show what could be remains of a Kh-31 anti-radiation missile (ARM). This means it might have been tasked with a SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) mission, to disable the enemy ground-based air defense systems radars.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.