A Ukrainian soldier with a man-portable air defense missile hit a Russian Air Force Su-25 attack aircraft near Volokhovy Yar, Kharkiv Region. The pilot reportedly managed to eject.
An attempt to use military aviation in the Kharkiv direction ended in the loss of one of the Russian Su-25 attack aircraft. A pair of Su-25 attack aircraft tried to escape from shelling at extremely low altitude, being only a few tens of meters from the ground, however, the launched missile successfully knocked out a combat aircraft, causing the latter to fall to the ground. The fate of the pilot is still unknown but many reported that the Pilot reportedly managed to eject
— The foxbat (@IndiandefenceNS) September 7, 2022
In the presented video footage, filmed in the area of the settlement of Volkhov Yar, you can see how a pair of attack aircraft takes off to strike. The passage of attack aircraft is carried out at a height of only 20 meters from the ground, however, despite this fact, an anti-aircraft missile fired from MANPADS caught up with an attack aircraft at great speed and knocked it out. On the video footage, you can see that the aircraft was damaged and fell to the ground, although given the fact that the explosion of the aircraft was avoided, there is an assumption that the pilot managed to save his life by landing the combat aircraft without extending the landing gear.
At the moment, it is known that the pilot did not have time to eject from the downed aircraft, however, given that the attack aircraft fell from a low altitude, the pilot could well have survived, but at the moment there is no information on this.
Why flying so low?
Both Ukraine and Russia deploy overlapping air-defense systems including short-range, shoulder-fired infrared surface-to-air missiles, or SAMs; medium-range SAMs with infrared, optical or radar guidance; as well as long-range radar SAMs.
Flying extremely low mitigates the missile risk. Radars can lose low-flying aircraft in the clutter of radar returns from buildings, trees and hills. Soldiers with shoulder-fired missiles can’t shoot what they can’t see—and an aircraft flying close to the ground can appear and disappear over the horizon in mere seconds.
But the same low flying that helps pilots to dodge enemy air-defenses also exposes them to a separate risk: collisions with the terrain. Also, Su-25 is designed to provide close air support for Ground Forces.