US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently announced that the NASAMS sent to Ukraine were fully operational, and their performance was very impressive. Shortly after, the internet was abuzz with reports about the NASAMS shooting down Russia’s ‘most powerful’ Su-35 fighters.
Ukrainian media reported on November 19 that the Strategic Communications Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the shooting down of a Su-35 fighter by the NASAMS defense systems.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine, with the help of the Norwegian NASAMS complex, shot down the newest and high-tech Katsap bucket with bolts, aka the Su-35 fighter, in the Bakhmut area,” the StratCom message read on Telegram. According to the report, the aircraft’s pilot reportedly ejected but could not survive.
Besides the various news reports floating on the internet, a video was posted by the Twitter account @UkraineRussia2 that frequently tracks the development of the ongoing war. In the video, an aircraft on fire could be seen slowly coming down after being shot by a ground-to-surface missile.
🇳🇴/🇺🇦The moment of the shooting down of the latest and most technological Russian Su 35C fighter with the help of the Norwegian Nasams complex in the Bakhmut area. The pilot ejected but did not survive#NASAMS #Ukraine #UkraineWar #UkraineWar #Kherson #Bakhmut #Norwegian pic.twitter.com/axA89YnZRv
— Ukraine-Russia war (@UkraineRussia2) November 18, 2022
The news was shortly dismissed as fake by Ukraine. The Air Force of Ukraine said in an official statement, “The information that is spreading in social networks regarding the downing of the Russian Su-35 by the Ukrainians “NASAMS” air defense system does not correspond to reality! Unfortunately…”
Even though the Ukrainian Air Force cleared the air about the incident, fighting has intensified in the Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine, of which, Bakhmut is a part.
After the Ukrainian troops retook Kherson, the war in the Donestk region escalated. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces had repelled about 100 attacks in the eastern Donetsk region, and the combat continues unabated.
Pro Ukrainian Twitter accounts spread news about a downed Russian Su-35 fighter by a NASAMS air defense system. The footage was already confirmed to be from early march this year. Now also the General Staff confirms that all claims are untrue. pic.twitter.com/ls3BMEGNMe
— NOËL 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) November 19, 2022
Moreover, Russia’s constant bombardment of Ukraine’s cities has left several cities, including Kyiv, the Black Sea port of Odesa, and more than a dozen other regions with power outages.
Justifying the bombing of power infrastructure, Russia said it treated these grids as military targets as they assisted in Ukraine’s warfighting capabilities.
To combat the barrage of Russian missiles, Ukraine has overwhelmingly turned to the West-supplied air defense systems like the German IRIS-T and the American NASAMS.
NASAMS are short-to-medium-range ground-based air defense systems that can defend against drones, helicopters, cruise missiles, and aircraft. It is a point defense system developed to protect high-value targets and does not provide area defense, unlike other systems.
After an efficient performance of NASAMS in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the US to supply Patriot systems and expedite the delivery of air defense equipment to Ukraine.
“NASAMS have proved their efficiency already. I am also convinced that the time for ‘Patriots’ has come,” he said in a tweet.
No One Shot The Su-35!
Even though Ukraine dispelled the news about NASAMS shooting down a Su-35, the fighter jet is sure to become a massive headache for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It wouldn’t then be an exaggeration to say that Ukraine would leave no opportunity slip to shoot down a Flanker-E.
The Su-35, a feared multirole super-maneuverable fighter, is Russia’s most lethal aircraft in the Ukraine war. According to Russian accounts, Russian fighter jets have prevailed in combat with their Ukrainian rivals on the majority of occasions.
The Su-35s have successfully employed Kh-31 anti-radar missiles to attack enemy air defense sites.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a Russian Su-35S multirole fighter jet recently engaged and downed Ukrainian Su-25 and MiG-29 aircraft during a combat sortie, as reported by EurAsian Times.
The pilot of the Su-35S fighter jet, Klim, said that a pair of Su-25s and one MiG-29 were spotted at a distance of around 200 kilometers. It appeared to him that the Su-25s were preparing to carry out a ground attack, with the MiG-29s assuming the role of an escort.
A recent report on the Russian air war in Ukraine by the London-based Royal United Services Institute also states that the Russian fighters have been exceptionally efficient and lethal against Ukrainian aircraft throughout the war, particularly the Su-35S equipped with the R-77-1 air-to-air missile (AAM).
According to Ukrainian fighter pilots cited by the RUSI experts, Russian fighters like the Su-30SM and Su-35S are far superior to those of the Ukrainian Air Force.
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