4 Ukrainian Air Drive Su-24 strike fighters and a single Su-27 heavyweight fighter have been reportedly shot down on March 28, in line with a report from the Russian Defence Ministry. The loss marks the primary of Ukrainian heavyweight fight jets reported two weeks, and comes as analysts have lengthy since thought-about these excessive upkeep platforms to be inoperable following a number of Russian strikes on airfields. Over half the Su-24 fleet of 14 plane in service earlier than the start of the conflict have been reported destroyed by Russian and allied forces. The Su-24 represents by far Ukraine’s most succesful plane for air to floor missions, with a sizeable fleet having been inherited from the Soviet Union, though with few upgrades being utilized since and with out post-Soviet standoff munitions their capabilities have been restricted. The Su-27 additionally represents an elite plane within the Ukrainian fleet which when inherited in 1991 was thought-about probably the most succesful fighter class in Europe, though just like the Su-24 neglect for modernisation has restricted its viability to have interaction in fight 30 years later.
Ukraine fielded a fleet of an estimated 35 Su-27s when hostilities with Russia broke out on February 24. Not less than one was beforehand shot down by a Russian S-400 missile battery based mostly in Belarus, with 4 extra shot down over Western Ukraine on March 5 in an air battle, with Russian Air Drive Su-35 fighters thought to have been accountable. The most recent shootdowns come as Russia has exerted even better management of Ukrainian airspace, though it stays unsure whether or not they have been downed by Russian fighters – the extra probably risk – or by floor based mostly methods such because the S-400. The Russian Military has deployed cellular BuK-M3 air defence methods utilizing tracked launchers to Ukraine, which can effectively have been accountable and defended personnel on the bottom ought to they’ve come below assault by the Su-24s. Additionally it is potential that the Su-24s have been being escorted for a strike mission by one in every of Ukraine’s few operational Su-27 fighters earlier than all have been neutralised by Russian fighters. Ukraine’s heavy losses within the air come as the important thing metropolis of Mariupol, guarded by Azov Battalion militias, was misplaced to Russian forces.