How many Russian planes has Ukraine shot down?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24, 2022 has led to intense fighting between the two countries. One of the key aspects of the war has been Russia’s use of air power and Ukraine’s efforts to counter it. A major question many have is: how many Russian planes and helicopters has Ukraine shot down since the start of the invasion?

Quick overview

While exact numbers are hard to verify, Ukraine claims to have shot down over 200 Russian aircraft since February 24. This includes planes and helicopters. Russia has not confirmed these numbers and has been tight-lipped about its aircraft losses. Independent analysts estimate Russia has lost at least 123 planes and 157 helicopters. The types of Russian aircraft shot down include fighters, bombers, transport planes, and attack helicopters.

Ukraine’s claims of Russian aircraft shot down

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, as of November 7, 2022, Ukraine has shot down:

  • 217 Russian airplanes
  • 192 helicopters
  • 409 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

This adds up to a total of 818 Russian aircraft destroyed by Ukraine’s armed forces since the invasion began. Among the 217 airplanes are some of Russia’s most advanced fighter jets and bombers including the Su-25, Su-24, Su-30, Su-34, Su-35 as well as the Tu-95/142 strategic bomber. Ukraine claims to have shot down a total of 44 Su-25s and 24 Su-34s. If accurate, these would represent significant losses of Russia’s air combat capability.

Independent estimates of Russia’s aircraft losses

While Ukraine’s claims of Russian air losses cannot be independently verified, most analysts believe Russia has suffered heavy aircraft attrition. Tracking sites like Oryx have visually confirmed the shooting down or capture of at least 123 Russian fixed-wing aircraft and 157 helicopters as of November 2022. This includes photographic or video evidence of the destroyed, damaged or captured aircraft. The true numbers are likely higher as some losses go unobserved or documented in the fog of war.

According to these independent tallies, Russia has lost significant numbers of:

  • Su-34 strike fighters – at least 21 lost
  • Su-25 close air support aircraft – at least 14 lost
  • Su-30 multirole fighters – at least 11 lost
  • Mi-28 attack helicopters – at least 30 lost
  • Ka-52 attack helicopters – at least 14 lost
  • Mi-24/35 attack helicopters – at least 26 lost

These aircraft losses represent a mix of being shot down by Ukrainian surface-to-air missiles, aircraft fire, and anti-aircraft guns. Several have also been destroyed on the ground by Ukrainian attacks on Russian-occupied airbases. The pace of Russian air attrition appears to have increased since the summer as Ukraine has received more Western air defense systems like the NASAMS, IRIS-T, and improved radar.

Type of Russian aircraft shot down in Ukraine

Here is a breakdown of the types of Russian fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters that are estimated to have been shot down or captured in Ukraine:

Fixed-wing aircraft losses

Aircraft Type Number shot down
Su-34 strike fighter 21
Su-25 attack aircraft 14
Su-30 fighter 11
Su-24 fighter bomber 8
MiG-29 fighter 7
Su-35 fighter 5
Il-76 transport 9
An-26 transport 6
Tu-95/142 bombers 2

Helicopter losses

Helicopter Type Number shot down
Mi-28 attack helicopter 30
Ka-52 attack helicopter 14
Mi-24/35 attack helicopter 26
Mi-8 transport helicopter 82
Ka-29 naval helicopter 4

This table summarizes the types of fixed-wing and rotary-wing Russian aircraft confirmed to have been shot down or captured. It shows substantial losses across a range of platforms – from frontline attack helicopters to strategic bombers. The losses have weakened Russia’s air combat capability and forced changes in tactics and operations.

Where are Russia’s aircraft being shot down?

Russia’s aerial losses have occurred across the breadth of Ukraine. But some regions have seen more aircraft shot down than others:

  • Donbas – The area around the Donbas has been the epicenter of the highest-intensity combat and seen significant air activity. Both Russian and Ukrainian aircraft losses are heaviest in eastern regions like Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk.
  • Black Sea coast – The southern coastal areas near Kherson and Mykolaiv saw heavy air combat earlier in the war. Russia lost many attack jets and helicopters supporting its stalled southern offensive.
  • Kyiv – During the Battle of Kyiv in February-March, Russia lost several planes and helicopters while trying unsuccessfully to capture the capital.
  • Crimea – The concentration of Russian air assets in Crimea has made bases there a target. Ukraine has struck Crimean airfields destroying parked Russian aircraft on the ground.

In addition to combat shoot downs, Ukraine has also destroyed some Russian aircraft on the ground through artillery/rocket attacks on occupied airbases. There have also been accidents like crashes that have resulted in Russian air losses during the war.

How Ukraine is shooting down Russian aircraft

Ukraine is employing a range of weapons – both new and old – to deadly effect against Russian aircraft:

  • Surface-to-air missiles – High-tech systems like the S-300, Buk M-1, and NASAMS are Ukraine’s foremost aerial defense weapons. Fighters, bombers, helicopters stand little chance against modern SAMs.
  • Man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) – Agile shoulder-fired missiles like the Stinger and British Starstreak have downed many low-flying helicopters and close air support planes.
  • Anti-aircraft artillery – Conventional AAA like the Soviet-era ZSU-23-4 has shot down several helicopters and low flying jets, especially earlier in the conflict.
  • Fighter aircraft – The Ukrainian Air Force maintains a small fleet of MiG-29, Su-27 and Su-25 jets for air interdiction and strikes on Russian-occupied airbases.

Layered air defenses with SAMs, MANPADs, AAA and fighters make Russian aircraft operations highly dangerous near Ukraine’s fronts. Russia’s losses have forced it to launch more standoff strikes using cruise and ballistic missiles rather than commit manned aircraft in high-risk areas.

Impact on the war

The heavy attrition of Russian aircraft is a key Ukrainian success in the war. Airpower was expected to be a major advantage for Russia, but its edge has been drastically eroded. The aircraft losses have impacted the war in tangible ways:

  • Russia failed to gain air superiority and suffers from contested skies.
  • Close air support operations near the front lines are highly dangerous for Russia.
  • Russia is relying more on standoff precision strikes rather than risking manned aircraft over Ukraine.
  • Loss of transport planes has impacted logistics support and supply of occupied areas.
  • The survivability of Russia’s helicopter fleet has been called into question.
  • Higher aircraft loss rates have impacted pilot training and readiness.

While Russia still possesses significant air assets, its remaining planes and helicopters have to operate carefully over Ukraine. The air attrition has forced changes and limitations on Russia’s strategy.


Estimates indicate Russia has lost at least 280 aircraft in the war so far, with Ukraine claiming as many as 409 destroyed. This includes over 200 fixed-wing planes and around 190 helicopters downed by various means. Losses span across multiple types from frontline Su-25s, Mi-28s to larger assets like the Il-76 transport. The aircraft destruction is spread across different parts of Ukraine but is concentrated in the east near high-intensity fronts. Ukraine has utilized layered defenses including modern surface-to-air missiles to deadly effect against Russian aerial platforms. The sheer scale of attrition has weakened Russia’s airpower which was expected to be a major advantage in the war. Instead, contested skies, restrictions on close air support and more reliance on standoff munitions point to a successful air denial strategy by Ukraine.

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