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Russia Loses Ninth Military Aircraft in One Week After Ukraine Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet

Russia Loses Ninth Military Aircraft in One Week After Ukraine Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet

BY EDWARD CARR Published on February 25, 2024 0 COMMENTS

Ukraine shot down a second Russian Bariev A-50 military aircraft on February 23, according to Ukrainian Air Force sources. A video posted on the social media platform Telegram by Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk shows an explosion in the night sky. The explosion appears to be a Ukrainian missile striking the early warning and control aircraft over Russian territory between Rostov-on-Don and the Krasnodar region. The aircraft impacted the ground near the city of Yeysk.

 

The Bariev A-50 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

 

Ukraine had previously downed an A-50 aircraft on January 14 over the Sea of Azov. The A-50 Mainstay is a key command center aircraft that detects air defense systems and targets such as guided missiles from up to 400 miles away. It is also utilized to identify ground targets for Russian fighter jets and relay information to troops on the ground. The A-50 typically flies with up to 15 crew. It features a large disc mounted atop the fuselage, similar to the one on American AWACS aircraft. 

 



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Russia has less than ten of these planes, with an estimated price tag of over $300 million. A third A-50 was reported damaged in a drone attack in Belarus last year, with its current status being unknown.

 

Ukrainian air defenses have enjoyed considerable success lately, downing up to nine Russian aircraft over the past week. On February 21, Ukraine destroyed a Su-34 fighter bomber. Another Su-34 and a Su-35S were shot down on February 19, following the downing of three Su-34s and one Su-35 over the weekend. 

 

Another view of the A-50 | Photo: Rostec.ru

 

Russia has lost 340 jets since the start of the war, according to the latest figures from Ukraine's Defense Ministry. This has enabled Ukraine to limit the role Russia's air force has been able to play in the conflict by making flying near the front lines extremely dangerous. The further back such surveillance aircraft must fly from the front lines, the more degraded their intelligence capabilities become.

 

Initially, Russia appeared to claim the shoot-down of the A-50 was a case of "friendly fire." Anton Gerashchenko, a former advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, posted about the incident on X, formerly known as Twitter. Citing Russian "military correspondents," he stated that the aircraft was shot down by a Russian air defense missile launched from the area near Mariupol. No official confirmation of these claims has been forthcoming, however. 

 

On February 24, Newsweek reported that the Main Directorate of Intelligence for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense posted on its Facebook page that the Russian air force has grounded additional aircraft due to losing the second A-50. According to the post, this stand-down order included a handful of the supersonic Su-34 bombers and associated Su-35 fighter escorts. Newsweek could not independently verify these claims.

 



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Edward Carr
I am an aviation writer for AeroXplorer.com, an aviation photography and news source based in Washington, D.C. with over 180,000 subscribers. A professional musician with an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, I have written everything from music blogs to marketing plans. My novel and associated podcast, Time Of Departure, an aviation-related time-travel story, will be released this year. I have worked in various aspects of commercial aviation, including simulator visual database design for FlightSafety International; economic research for the Centre for Aviation Safety Research at Parks College of Aviation, Saint Louis University; business planning for Air Choice One regional airlines. It all started with various summer positions for TWA. My favorite flying experience was flying a 1946 Cessna 120 to the EAA fly-in at Oshkosh with my brother when we were both in college. I currently enjoy flying light sport aircraft and living in St. Louis, MO, USA.

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