Russia’s Shahed-136 Factory Attacked By CESSNA Light Plane Converted Into A Drone

Dramatic footage shows the moment a suspected Ukrainian CESSNA plane explodes as it is targeted at a Russian plant assembling Iranian Shahed drones used in the war.

There was a huge blast and fireball near Yelabuga, deep in Russia, at least 1200km from the closest Ukrainian territory. A total of three strikes were reported in the area.

The Cessna 205, 206 and 207, known primarily as the Stationair (and marketed variously as the Super Skywagon, Skywagon and Super Skylane), are a family of single-engined, general aviation aircraft with fixed landing gear used in commercial air service as well as for personal use. Cessna has a range of 1350km.

Russian sources say it hit a dormitory for workers in the Alabuga economic zone in the Republic of Tatarstan, where it is believed the deadly Iranian drones are assembled.

It is unclear so far if there was also damage to the drone-making production line, but Ukraine’s military spy agency said it caused ‘significant damage’ to a military target in the Tatarstan region.

There were scenes of panic as workers witnessed the fireball explosion, with crowds of people running for cover as it smashed into the building. Six people were injured in the drone attack which hit the hostel. Three were sent home after being examined by doctors. Three more were hospitalised.

Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence directorate was behind the targeting of the Shahed-drone production line, reported RBC-Ukraine.

The UAVs that took part in the attack were equipped with equipment from NATO countries, alleged Alabuga SEZ, giving no evidence for the claim.

There were unconfirmed claims that the attack was not by a drone by a piloted small plane on a suicide mission, possibly a Ukrainian A-22, or that an aircraft was flying on autopilot.

Kremlin-loyal Readovka reported: ‘It is too early to conclude whether the suicide pilot was alive at the wheel or whether an autopilot controlled the aircraft.

‘In favour of the latter is the fact that how straight and clear the A-22 went to the target – such a result could not be achieved even by Japanese kamikazes, so, apparently, we are dealing with a new kind of long-range kamikaze drones based on light-engine aircraft.’

An eyewitness even asks: ‘Is that a plane.’ But other Russian outlets Shot and Mash suggested attack was by a UJ-22 airborne drones.

Head of Tatarstan region Rustam Minnikhanov said: ‘This morning, the enterprises of the republic in Elabuga and Nizhnekamsk were attacked by unmanned aerial vehicles.

There was also speculation of a launch within Russia, or even Kazakhstan, since the distance from Ukraine appears so far for drones.

If it had flown more than 1200km, it appears surprising that it was not countered by Russian air defence.

The Taneco oil plant in Nizhnekamsk – also in Tatarstan – was also reportedly hit in the bombardment early today. It is the latest oil refinery in Russia to be hit by Ukraine, which is said to be defying the US in making such attacks.

There are fears that a loss of Russian production capacity will lead to rising world oil prices. Timur Shagivaleev, Director General of Alabuga SEZ, an enterprise zone where the drone plant is allegedly based, admitted a hit on a hostel – a dormitory for workers.

He did not refer to damage to the production facilities. ‘Today at 5.45am, the Alabuga hostel was attacked by two drones,’ he said. ‘Indeed, they are attacking shopping centres in Moscow.

‘They are attacking residential areas in Belgorod, they are attacking hostels in Alabuga. ‘It is against such people that we are carrying out a special military operation.’

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