Su-57 ‘quartet’ identifies the Ukrainian air defense systems

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — In recent weeks, Russia has carried out indiscriminate strikes on some Ukrainian areas. These are Kupyansk, Krasniy Liman, Donetsk and southern Donetsk. A “strike back” is most likely to come as the anniversary of the war approaches. Some Russian experts believe that Moscow will assign a much larger role to its Su-57s.

Russia will unveil the export Sukhoi Su-57E fighter in India
Photo credit: Rosoboronexport

What is known so far is expected. Fear of possible destruction of the Su-57 makes Moscow “keep them on a leash”. “They are tied up” at military airfields around the border with Ukraine. Short sorties, identification, and shooting in the area of Russian airspace is the tactic of the Russian Air Force.

There are signals of the upcoming use of Russian aviation. At the same time, signals for the mass use of combat aircraft. At the moment, it is reported that there is a massive gathering of Russian aviation near the eastern Ukrainian front. Western intelligence also reports similar actions. Moreover, even Russia suggests that in the coming months, we will witness many downed Russian planes. But what will be the role of the remote use of the Su-57?

Most likely like this in the summer of 2022. A little-known fact, but according to Western intelligence, Su-57s quite often flew in fours. I.e. in “quartet”. “Take off, identify, and destroy enemy air defense systems,” dozens of reports say.

There is a case documented by British intelligence in which, in June 2022, a combination of four Su-57 fighters made just such a flight. “Thus, they operate in a single information space,” reports say. “This increases the effectiveness of identifying and engaging targets.”

EurAsianTimes wrote that the quartet was “linked to a single information network to destroy air defense systems through automatic communication systems, data transmission, navigation, and real-time identification.”

Pairs or quads of Su-57s are expected to continue with the same missions. The presence of NASAMS and IRIS-T in Ukraine deters Moscow from “untying the dogs.” Therefore, their leash is limited to the limit by using beyond visual range strike missiles. These fighters are not expected to be used singly or individually at all. One way or another, their actions will be dependent on a Russian land offensive.

I.e. at a time when the Russian offensive happens [if it happens] the Su-57’s role will be long-range counterattacks. Air-to-air and air-to-ground respectively. The main target will again be the Ukrainian air defense systems. But this time, pairs or quads of Su-57s are supposed to be able to attack Ukrainian command posts and ammunition depots from afar.

Attention should also be paid to a fact that has become known in recent days. Russia’s TASS news agency reported that the Su-57 offers “something like sensor fusion and data linking with artificial intelligence-enabled.” How true this is – we can only guess. Let’s assume it’s true. This suggests relief for pilots who are under pressure. I.e. decision-making becomes much faster because, in a specific situation, these sensors offer a solution. However, it is up to the pilot to comply.

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Photo credit: Wikipedia

I.e. determining the trajectory of the attack, the type of weapon used, and even a possible strategy in a possible air-to-air battle. Since such a battle is highly unlikely, pairs or quads of Su-57s can synchronize their long-range attacks and devise new strategies for attacking ground targets using the combined sensors.

This is all in the realm of conjecture. But the Su-57 is not designed for direct air combat. Just like the F-35 was not designed for this. Realistically, if Moscow decides not to attack Kyiv, there is no reason for the Su-57 to be brought into combat range. Simply because it will not be effective there as much as it will be effective deep in the rear of the Russian army.


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