Russia lost six planes in the August war with Georgia with at least three of them downed by “friendly fire”, according to the Russian military journal, Moscow Defense Brief, Reuters reported.
The Russian Defense Ministry has officially acknowledged that it lost four aircrafts in the last year’s war with Georgia = three Su-25 ground attack aircraft and one Tu-22M3 long-range bomber.
But according to the journal, published by the Moscow-based think-tank Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, two other aircraft lost but not mentioned in the official Russian report were Su-24M front-line bombers.
“Of these [six], two aircraft were certainly downed by enemy fire, three were probably hit by ‘friendly fire’ and it remains difficult to determine who shot down the last one,” according to the Moscow Defense Brief, which also said that absence of cooperation between the Russian army and Air force "led them to conduct completely separate campaigns."
There have been conflicting Georgian reports about how many Russian aircraft were downed.
In his testimony last October before the Georgian parliamentary commission studying the circumstances of the August war, Zaza Gogava, then chief of staff of the Georgian armed forces, said that 19 Russian aircraft were downed. He also said “not a single Georgian aircraft was shot down or damaged in combat.”
Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, however, told the same commission last November, that Georgia downed 15 Russian aircraft.
According to the Moscow Defense Brief, aside from the downed Russian aircraft, several other Su-25 ground attack aircraft were seriously damaged, though they managed to return to base. All of these aircraft had been hit by shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, it said. The worst day of the campaign for Russian aviation was August 9, when four aircraft were downed.