The images of the crash of the Russian A-50 plane, the third that Moscow loses in the Ukraine war

Russia has a problem with its reconnaissance aircraft in the Ukraine war. For the third time in the conflict, Ukrainian forces shot down an A-50 long-range radar aircraft from the Russian fleet nearby Sea of ​​Azov. The Kremlin apparatus was hit by a projectile from the S-200 anti-aircraft system. “The entire crew of the Russian A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft died,” a Ukrainian military intelligence official said, quoted by the Ukrinform news agency.

The loss of this aircraft is undoubtedly a major blow to Russia and comes just a month (January 14) after the Ukrainian Air Force shot down a Russian A-50 aircraft in the Azov region. On February 23 last year, Belarusian partisans destroyed an A-50 in the Russian military base Machulishchi.

experts and Russian bloggers with close ties to the Kremlin have raised in military channels the possibility that in reality the demolition of the so-called Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) It was the work of friendly fire, not a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile.

In 2021, Russia was estimated to have nine A-50s, including several upgraded A-50Us in active service. In recent days, Ukraine has claimed that its air force has shot down five Su-34 Fullback fighter aircraft and two Su-35 Flanker-E

Moscow has not confirmed the loss of the plane. For their part, the above-mentioned Russian military bloggers believe that the new Ukrainian tactics to overwhelm Russian air defense and AWACS crew led to the downing of the device worth $330 million.

The Ukrainian version

Ukraine assures that the demolition was the result of a joint action by Ukraine Ukrainian Armed Forces and its Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) and have released maps showing the approximate location of the incident.

Videos on social media showed the plane flying low and Firing flares. At one point, a large explosion can be seen several meters behind the aircraft (or behind the path of the flares being fired). Based on the images, it can be concluded that this is a moment when the unidentified anti-aircraft missile hits one of these flares.

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Flares are often used to deflect anti-aircraft missiles by creating a heat signature greater than that of the aircraft, thus deceiving the projectile. Shortly afterwards, a larger explosion creates a large fireball, indicating that the aircraft was hit. The inferno continues its descent, leaving a patchy trail of fire behind, suggesting it is the burning wreckage of the A-50U.

The WarZone notes that regardless of whether the A-50 fell in front of Russian or Ukrainian air defenses, the videos showing the aircraft firing flares before the crash indicate that the device was attacked a surface-to-air missile. However, unless it was fired by an infrared-guided missile, which is highly unlikely, the flares would have had no effect on the weapon aimed at it, writes Thomas Newdick.

The plane It was flying at a low altitude, about 1,000 feet, and it appears that it had spotted the missile and was taking evasive maneuvers. This suggests that the crew was aware of the dangerous situation.

The A-50 is a Soviet-era AWACS aircraft developed from the Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, which entered service in 1985. According to the Eurasian Times, only about 40 units were built, which claims that this device can track up to 150 targets simultaneously within a radius of 230 kilometers and even detect air targets at a distance of 650 kilometers. The aircraft has a crew of 15 people and is characterized by a huge rotating radar on the top from which surveillance tasks can be carried out. Surveillance, command, control and communication.

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