The Russian Su-57 does not fight in Ukraine: because it cannot

The pulse of the war in Ukraine highlights the palpable absence of a mighty steel beast: the Russian Su-57, an unprecedented weapon of war, still slumbering in the gloom of its sparse deployment.

Su-57 Fighter: Latent Air Dominance in the Ukrainian Theater of War

Since the dawn of the conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s belligerent spirit has been on full display, deploying an impressive contingent of its most advanced fighters. The Su-34 and Su-35, both highly capable battle hawks, have drawn deadly routes in the skies over Ukraine.

In the midst of the storm of war, the Su-35 has proven its worth, winning air-to-air victories against Ukrainian aviation. Despite the casualties sustained, the Su-35’s performance shines, given the constant barrage of Ukrainian missiles and the operational intensity of these fierce battle hawks.

These two birds of prey, the Su-34 and Su-35, are the spearhead of Russian air-to-ground operations. But one figure stands in the shadow of these two mighty workhorses, the Su-57 state-of-the-art heavy fighter. This performer remains surprisingly absent in the Ukrainian theater of operations.

The rise and hibernation of the Russian Su-57: From promise to reality

While the Su-34 and Su-35 are remasters of the Su-27 Flanker quartet, the Su-57 is the emblem of a new era. As the latest jewel in the Russian fighter pantheon, the Su-57 surpasses its predecessors in terms of attack and air superiority.

The Russian Su-57 does not fight in Ukraine: because it cannot

Despite its birth in 2010 and a production schedule that promised a force of 200 units by 2025, the Su-57 has been a caged lion of adverse circumstances. Due to a continued deterioration in the Russian defense sector following the Soviet collapse, the Su-57 found itself without the necessary funding and technical support for its full-scale production.

Thus, this technical marvel only entered serial production in 2019, finally joining the Russian Air Force arsenal in December 2020. Its absence from the Ukrainian conflict can be seen as a missed opportunity to prove its battlefield supremacy.

Russian Su-57: a stealth warrior in the cyberspace of air combat

The Su-57 is a beast of a different kind. Thanks to its stealthy design, its ability to vanish into the sky sets it apart from other Russian fighters. Combined with its Himalayas electronic warfare system, it makes for a virtually undetectable specter.

Faced with antiquated Ukrainian air defenses and infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles, the Su-57 could glide with impunity in Ukrainian skies. With a reduced thermal signature, its presence would be virtually imperceptible.

Thanks to its six radars, the panoramic vision offered by the Su-57 far exceeds that of other Russian and Western fighters. This true hawk eye can simultaneously track up to 60 targets, putting a fully mapped battlefield at your disposal.

The destructive power of the Russian Su-57: a potential blow to Ukrainian defenses

Had the Su-57 been deployed in the Ukrainian conflict, its advanced arsenal could have changed the face of battle. With the PBK-500U Drel glider bomb, it could strike targets 30-50 km away with deadly precision.

What makes this bomb so special is its GLONASS satellite and inertial guidance capabilities, allowing for a “fire and forget” approach. A single cluster of these bombs could wipe out an entire missile battery or a column of tanks.

The Su-57 could have brought down Ukrainian air defenses much more quickly than existing fighters using the Kh-58UShE anti-radiation missile. Its advanced air-to-air combat capabilities would have given Russia a substantial advantage in Ukraine.

The Su-57 in the Ukrainian conflict: An undeployed ace up your sleeve

The Russian Su-57 does not fight in Ukraine: because it cannotThe Sukhoi Su-57 fighter performs its flight display at the MAKS-2019 Moscow International Airshow near Zhukovsky, southeast of Moscow. (Photo by Leonid Faerberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Su-57, with its ability to disappear into the sky and its unique strike capabilities, could have been Russia’s trump card in the Ukrainian conflict. However, this unparalleled instrument of war remains in storage, an underutilized resource in the midst of the tumult of war.

The Su-57 is much more than a fighter. It is a symbol of a new era in air warfare. But until it is deployed on the battlefield, this sleeping beast will remain only a promise of power.

The Su-57’s potential impact on the Ukrainian conflict reminds us that wars are won not just by soldiers on the battlefield but also by strategic decisions that determine which weapons are deployed and when.

How has the war in Ukraine affected Russian combat aviation?

The war in Ukraine has mobilized a large arsenal of Russian fighter jets, with fighters like the Su-34 and Su-35 playing a prominent role. The Su-34 and Su-35 have withstood the significant volume of Ukrainian surface-to-air missiles, reflecting their efficiency on the battlefield.

Why could the Su-57 be an advantage in the Ukrainian conflict?

The Su-57, with its stealth capabilities and sophisticated Himalayan electronic warfare system, could be a significant asset in the war in Ukraine. Its tracking capabilities and laser defense system could effectively neutralize the Ukrainian anti-air defense, based largely on 1980s Soviet technologies.

How could the Su-57 turn the tide of the war in Ukraine?

Had they been deployed in large numbers, the Su-57s could have provided unrivaled air support, accelerating the progress of Russian ground forces. Its advanced artillery, notably the PBK-500U Drel bomb glide, could have inflicted large-scale damage on the Ukrainian forces.

How are the capabilities of the Su-57 compared to other Russian fighters?

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation fighter with significantly improved capabilities compared to other Russian fighters. It is equipped with six radars, which allows it to track up to 60 targets simultaneously. Its fifth-generation design and stealth technologies make it a formidable adversary in the modern theater of war.

What potential does the Su-57 have in air-to-air combat and suppression of air defenses?

The Su-57 has considerable potential in air-to-air combat and suppression of air defenses. Its Kh-58UShE anti-radiation missile could neutralize Ukrainian air defenses much faster than existing fighters. Furthermore, with its advanced air-to-air combat capabilities, the Su-57 could give Russia a substantial advantage in Ukraine.