The two Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets had been recently spotted in the skies above Syria and then seemed landing at Hmeymim airbase in the country’s western Latakia province.
Russia’s Su-57, manufactured by the country’s Prospective Aviation Complex of Frontline Aviation, is a stealth, single-seat, twin-engine jet multirole warplane.
The warplane, also known as T-50, is the first aircraft in the Russian military equipped with stealth technology and it is intended to have supermaneuverability with supercruise capability and advanced avionics such as active phased array radar and sensor fusion that autonomously make battlefield calculations to assist the pilot.
Russia sees Su-57 as the basis for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) to succeed the country’s MiG-29 and Su-27. The FGFA is currently being co-developed by Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force.
Last year, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said the Su-57 would most likely enter service in 2018 after installation of more advanced engines compared with the original model and further testing.
The aircraft is equipped with all-moving horizontal and vertical stabilizers, enabling the aircraft to perform very high angles of attack maneuvers.
The Su-57 is expected to carry four beyond-visual-range missiles in its two main weapons bays and two short-range missiles in the wing root weapons bays.
The main bays of the jet can also accommodate air-to-ground missiles and precision-guided bombs.
The Russian Defense Ministry had said the jets were slated to be introduced to its forces this year, and a total of 12 aircraft were initially ordered by the Moscow government.
However, Russia does not plan to mass produce and export Su-57 until 2025 as the upgrading and testing process for the aircraft still continues.
According to Vladimir Gutenov, chairman of the Military Industry Committee in the Russian parliament, the presence of the Su-57s in Syria would doubtlessly send a political message, serving as a deterrent "for aircraft from neighboring states which periodically fly into" Syrian airspace uninvited.
The Russian lawmaker added that the stealth SU-57 fighter jet planes “need to be tested in combat conditions, in conditions of [enemy] resistance.”
The reported deployment comes after the US employed earlier this month its most advanced fighter jet, the F-22 stealth fighter, in strikes against alleged terrorist targets in Syria.
Russia has been lending aerial support to Syria upon a request by Damascus since September 2015.
The deployment could potentially escalate Russia’s tensions with the United States, which has been involved since 2014 in an unauthorized aerial campaign against what it calls Daesh positions in Syria.