Recently, the news of the Su-57 appearing on the Ukrainian battlefield has opened up again. It has attracted the attention of many people. According to the reports, the Russian Aerospace Forces have put the Su-57 into a “special military operation” against Ukraine. So, how effective is this fighter jet?
There are many speculations about why this stealth fighter is inherently insufficient in the design stage and has been delayed after mass production. So far, only two officially produced stealth fighters have been put into the battlefield. Some people say that the war in Ukraine continues to stalemate. Some people say that after the appearance of the Su-75 checkmate, which is closer to the standard of the fifth-generation aircraft, the mass production of the Su-57 is meaningless. And pull it to the battlefield to make consumables; some people say that this is an actual combat test, as before during the Syrian civil war.
However, there is not much objection; that is, the outside world believes that the battlefield value and role of the Su-57 in this conflict will not be too great. After all, the aircraft have only been very few in service, and the performance is still a long way from the real maturity.
But on the other hand, considering the battlefield situation faced by the Russian Aerospace Forces, the front line of the Su-57 also has a particular urgency. Since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the small-scale Ukrainian Air Force has suffered heavy losses. Still, some fighters have succeeded and even launched strikes on Russian border cities.
At the same time, the Ukrainian ground air defense system still has the power to fight, and the Russian Aerospace Forces fighters, which may have mastered the air supremacy, may be bitten by the slightest carelessness.
The Russian army has finally mastered a specific initiative in the ground war. It will inevitably focus more on the firm control of air supremacy. At present, it seems that the ground air defense firepower of the Ukrainian army cannot be underestimated; and the Russian military has little advantages in air defense suppression and electronic interference; coupled with some airports and air defense networks in the deep areas of the Ukrainian side, it surpasses the Russian army’s anti-aircraft firepower. The effective range of anti-radiation missiles; and the prices of cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with longer ranges are not cheap, and it is difficult for the Russian military to use them on a large scale.
The best cost-effective approach is to use the Su-57 with specific stealth capabilities to make in-depth breakthroughs, hunt and kill the remaining Ukrainian fighter jets, attack airfields, and eliminate air defense missiles and other facilities. These tasks are pretty tricky for non-stealth fighters, and the use of Su-57 is relatively specific.
Of course, the participation of the Su-57 in the war may be related to another situation, that is, the United States proposed a plan to assist Ukraine with “MIM104 Patriot” air defense missiles. Compared with the Ukrainian army’s existing old-fashioned Soviet-based air defense weapons, the US-based anti-aircraft missiles are better in terms of accuracy, anti-jamming capability, and response speed. The wartime survival pressure on non-stealth fighters will increase sharply.
Therefore, although the stealth effect of the Su-57 may not reach the level of the fifth-generation aircraft, it is at least safer than non-stealth aircraft such as the Su-35 and Su-24 and is expected to break through the American air defense system.