A pilot of a Russian Su-25 Frogfoot close air support jet recorded his own ejection in dramatic headcam footage. The aircraft was supposedly brought down by Ukrainian fire this summer. The video originated from the Russian Fighter-Bomber Telegram channel.
Author's note: See the update at the bottom of this post regarding the cause of the crash.
The Frogfoot pilot was flying just hundreds of feet off the deck when the aircraft was supposedly hit. In the video, the jet pitches up violently as it departs from controlled flight and the ejection sequence is activated. As the pilot rockets away from the aircraft in its Zvezda K-36 ejection seat, we get a glimpse of its tail. Its vertical stabilizer is nearly gone, its horizontal stabilizer is damaged, and its engine is on fire. You can also see the aircraft's canopy falling away.
Before the pilot touches down under-parachute, the Su-25 is seen exploding in a field in the distance. Once on the ground, what was an incredibly violent instant in time transitions to an odd, almost peaceful calm under a beautiful blue sky. You can hear a jet somewhere nearby, likely his wingman which can be briefly seen in the video, and a billowing smoke column is visible in the distance where the Su-25 augered in. The entire clip looks like something out of a video game, but it's not.
Life truly comes at you fast in tactical aviation.
An even cleaner version of the video can be seen below:
The Frogfoots have been a staple of the fighting on both sides since Russia's invasion began, and for Ukraine, long before that. Due in part to the high-risk envelope they fly in and their performance, many Su-25s have been lost during the conflict. There is also the question of the quality of aviator Russia is putting into some of its Su-25 cockpits. There have been non-combat losses, as well. Oryx, an independent analyst who only counts visually confirmed losses of Russian equipment during the conflict, has a tally of 26 Russian Su-25s lost — by far the highest fixed-wing tactical jet type.
Mike Yeo, a defense journalist specializing in airpower out of Asia, appears to have identified the aircraft and its unit:
This is just another spectacular piece of media that has come out of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. It's a war that has been publicized via social media like no other before. But filming your own ejection is definitely something we haven't seen, or at least haven't seen much of, before.
Some keen-eye open-source sleuths are claiming the incident occurred in Russia, near Belgorod, not far from the Ukraine border, with the jet clipping a power line. This remains unconfirmed but they make a good case:
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com