One in five Russian aircraft losses not combat-related in Ukraine war

24 August, 02:27 PM
Russian military plane crashes in the yard of a residential building in Yeysk (Photo:Video screenshot Baza/Telegram)

Russian military plane crashes in the yard of a residential building in Yeysk (Photo:Video screenshot Baza/Telegram)

Non-combat losses of Russian aviation account for over 20% of total confirmed losses since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, U.S. news magazine Newsweek reported on Aug. 23.

A full fifth of Russia's verified manned aircraft losses, which includes jets, helicopters and transport aircraft, were blamed on Russian system malfunctions, pilot error, friendly fire or other accidents not related to direct combat against Ukraine.

High Russian aircraft losses during training or non-combat missions can be chalked up to several factors, experts suggest, not least Russia's oversights in maintaining its aircraft, investing time in training pilots to a high standard and being rigorous about safety procedures.

Video of day

Russia had lost a confirmed 186 piloted aircraft and helicopters during the war as of Aug. 17, with 13 marked as "non-combat" losses, according to the open-source intelligence (OSINT) outlet Oryx, a Dutch open-source intelligence defense analysis website, and warfare research group.

Meanwhile, Newsweek said it had been able to locate and corroborate with media reports the loss of at least 48 units were independent of Ukrainian operations. These include seven Su-25 jets, four MiG-31 supersonic interceptors and three of Russia's prized scout-attack Ka-52 "Alligator" helicopters.

Newsweek is not counting in this tally Russia's overall manned aircraft and helicopter losses, which would include those lost because of Kyiv's activity.

The additional cases discovered by Newsweek bring this total to 221, including an extra 17 jets or planes and 18 helicopters. Thus, one in five Russian Air Force losses are not combat related.

The Ukrainian General Staff’s official count is higher, putting total Russian aircraft losses at 315 and helicopters at 314 as of Aug. 24.

Part of the aviation was also destroyed on Russian territory. As a result of drone strikes on Russian airfields in Soltsy and Shaykovka, two Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers were completely destroyed on Aug. 22.

Two Russian Mi-8 military helicopters, a Su-34 fighter/bomber, and a Su-35 fighter crashed, with the crews killed in Bryansk region of Russia on May 13. Russian authorities did not officially comment on the incidents or the number of lost aircraft, despite numerous media reports and videos being posted on social media by witnesses.

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