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Ukraine conflict: Russia records first combat loss of Su-35

A file photo of an Su-35 ‘Flanker-E' multirole combat aircraft, of the type that came down in eastern Ukraine on 3 April. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)

Russia has lost its first Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E' multirole fighter on combat operations over Ukraine, imagery posted online on 3 April reveal.

The premier operational combat aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) reportedly came down in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, near the town of Izyum.

Although no information relating to how the aircraft came down has been revealed, the imagery released shows it to have come to rest largely intact, before being consumed by fire.

The aircraft is identifiable as being an Su-35 by it being a single-seat ‘Flanker' variant without canards, and equipped with the combination missile rails and wingtip-mounted electronic countermeasures systems in place of the missile rails of the baseline Su-27/30 versions.

As noted by Janes World Air Forces, the VKS fields 103 Su-35S (the designation given to production versions of the Su-35) aircraft, with the type operated by the 790th Fighter Aviation Regiment at Khotilovo, the 159th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment at Besovets, the 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment at Komsomolsk-Dzemgi, and the 22nd Fighter Aviation Regiment at Uglovoe. Given that the VKS has drawn assets from across Russia for operations over Ukraine, it is not possible to say which unit flew this particular Su-35.

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