The Flankers were seen dropping what appeared to be high-drag bombs on the island’s main complex, buildings just above the pier, and on the eastern point.
Ukraine has just released a video showing two Su-27 fighter jets of the Ukrainian Air Force carrying out a high-speed, low-altitude bombing raid on Snake Island in the western Black Sea currently controlled by Russia. According to The Drive, a Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 UAV recorded a video of the counterattack. Accordingly, two Ukrainian Su-27s entered Snake Island at low altitude from the south, and dropping bombs on multiple targets in a single pass.
The Flankers were seen dropping what appeared to be high-drag bombs on the island’s main complex, buildings just above the pier, and on the eastern point. Satellite footage that surfaced later confirmed the fire and serious damage to Snake Island’s buildings and the landing craft at the shoreline.
The Su-27 is an interceptor and an air superiority fighter with secondary ground-attack capabilities. The Ukrainian Flankers, which is low in number, has mainly been used for air-to-air missions, while Mig-29s have been used for air-to-ground roles. The Su-27’s long range and large weapons load made them more suitable for the attack on Snake Island. In addition, air-to-air weapons can help them defend themselves if necessary.
The Ukrainian Air Force inherited about 66-70 Su-27 aircraft after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lack of funds in addition to the Su-27’s high maintenance led to a shortage of spare parts and inadequate servicing, resulting in approximately 34 remaining in service as of 2019.
In 2009, amid declining relations with Russia, the Ukrainian Air Force began to have difficulty obtaining spare parts from Sukhoi. Only 19 Su-27s were serviceable at the time of the Russian annexation of Crimea and subsequent War in Donbas in 2014. Following the Russian invasion, Ukraine increased its military budget, allowing stored Su-27s to be returned to service.
On 24 February 2022, a Ukrainian Su-27 and a refueling vehicle were burned out by fire after a Russian attack on the military airfield in Ozerne, Zhytomyr District during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The next day, another Su-27 was shot down in Kyiv by a Russian S-400 system and was recorded by residents on their cellphones and published on Twitter.
The latest Su-27 attack demonstrates that the Ukrainian Air Force is willing to strike Russian positions with fighter jets despite the presence of powerful missile defense systems. This prooves Ukraine’s ability to keep its airspace contested more than two months into the war against a numerically and technologically superior enemy such as Russia.