It was shot down 256 km from the front, which raises some unknowns

New strategic hit on Russia: the shootdown of a second AWACS A-50 Mainstay aircraft

With only a few hours left until the second anniversary of the Russian invasion, Ukraine deals a new strategic hit on Russia.

The enormous strategic importance for Russia of the loss of a Beriev A-50 Mainstay aircraft
The Russian disaster in the air strike launched by Putin against Ukraine on Christmas Eve

A joint operation of the Ukrainian Air Force and Intelligence

This afternoon, the Air Force, the Ministry of Defense and the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of Ukraine have confirmed the shootdown of a second Beriev A-50 "Mainstay" airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft of the Russian Air Force, in a joint operation between the GUR and the Ukrainian Air Force. As you will remember, On January 15, Ukraine already shot down another A-50, in that case over the Sea of Azov. A stroke of great audacity.

The GUR has communicated this afternoon that the plane destroyed today is an A-50U, a new modernized Russian version of the plane. This is the most modern version of the Mainstay, presented in 2009 and with improved avionics, liquid crystal displays for controllers and a rest area for the crew. The GUR estimates the cost of each A-50U at 350 million dollars.

The plane was shot down over Krasnodar Krai, Russia.

The GUR notes that this A-50U was shot down "over the Sea of Azov", but includes this map of its location which shows that the plane was flying over Krasnodar Krai, Russia. The GUR statement indicates the following: "A sharp drop in the speed and height of the downed A-50U aircraft was recorded near the city of Yeisk." Yeisk is located northwest of the city of Krasnodar, capital of that Russian region, on the southern shore of the Taganrog Gulf, on the Sea of Azov.

The downed model is a rare aircraft: Russia only had nine active A-50s before these two shootdowns, a figure reduced to 6 by British intelligence. Thus, right now Russia could only have between 4 and 7 aircraft of this type. Videos of the shootdown have already begun to spread on the Internet. Above these lines we see a video that shows the plane launching flares, a defense system useful against infrared-guided missiles but useless against radar-guided missiles . Under these lines we can see the flames of the already crashed plane.

The GUR has claimed that the downed A-50U was "an air command post that the aggressor state used for detection, control and long-range radar guidance in attacks on Ukraine with strategic aviation missiles. The downing of the A-50U is another serious hit to the potential and capabilities of terrorist Moscow."

Un derribo a 256 km del frente, un dato que genera algunas incógnitas

The Russian Telegram channel Fighterbomber has confirmed the loss of the A-50 at 19:22 CET, providing a very striking fact about this fact: the plane was shot down 256 km from the front line. This point opens up many unknowns about how Ukraine would have shot down this plane (official Ukrainian sources have not provided any information in this regard). Longer-range versions of the Patriot missile can shoot down aircraft in flight up to a distance of 180 km.

Thus, it is possible that this demolition was carried out with short-range MANPADS-type portable missiles through an infiltration operation. That would explain why the A-50 tried to defend itself by launching flares (these missiles usually have infrared guidance), but it is difficult for a missile of that type to hit an A-50 at the altitude at which these planes usually fly. For example, an American FIM-92 Stinger missile can hit targets flying up to an altitude of 5,500 meters, but the A-50 has a flight ceiling of 12,000 meters.


Photos: Yuri Kotenok / Russian Ministry of Defense.

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