Ukraine Shoots Down Another Russian A-50 AWACS Radar Aircraft

What’s noteworthy here, beyond the fact that Ukraine keeps doing this without a real air force any longer, or the incredible cost of these spy planes (upwards of $330m), is that once they’re lost they’re lost forever. Russia cannot produce them, and with sanctions can’t in the future either. And the highly trained specialists in the crew with years of training are irreplaceable as well.

Another horrible week for the Russian Air Force, with yet another Su-34 bomber blown from the sky today as well, making 5 of those this month.

Source: Forbes

Incredibly, the Russian air force has lost another one of its rare Beriev A-50M/U Mainstay radar early-warning planes. Video that circulated online on Friday reportedly depicts the A-50’s burning wreckage in Krasnodar Krai, in Russia just east of the Sea of Azov.

The location of the crash, at least 120 miles from the front line in southern Ukraine, could indicate the four-engine, 15-person radar plane either suffered a mechanical failure—or took a hit while operating closer to the front and tried to make it back to its base in Krasnodar before exploding.

For what it’s worth, the Ukrainian Air Force claimed it shot down the A-50 with assistance from the intelligence directorate in Kyiv.

Either way, it’s a devastating blow for the battered Russian air force. The air arm has lost, mostly to Ukrainian long-range surface-to-air missiles—American-made Patriot PAC-2s, in particular—nine of its best planes in just a month, including an A-50 that the Ukrainians hit over the Sea of Azov in January.

Prior to that earlier shoot-down, the Russian air force had just nine modernized A-50M/Us. Now it’s down to seven, just a few of which are active at any given time.

The A-50s play important supporting roles in Russia’s two-year wider war on Ukraine. They help to detect incoming Ukrainian missile raids and also relay radio signals from front-line forces to their headquarters, which might be hundreds of miles away.

Amazing whenever this happens.

It has not been an auspicious day for the Russian Air Force.

Leaving some to speculate as to the cause…

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