Ukrainian kamikaze drone destroyed A-50 AWACS manufacturing plant

The A-50 'Mainstay‘ AEW&C aircraft have been grounded due to the fear of collateral damage.

Ukraine carried out drone strikes on an aircraft plant in southern Russia, reports say.

 The plant is reportedly refurbishing A-50 spy planes, which play a crucial role in Russia’s operations over Ukraine.  A Ukrainian lawmaker claimed that an A-50 aircraft at the plant was damaged.

Ukraine conducted drone strikes on an aircraft plant in the southern Russian city of Taganrog overnight on Friday, reports say.

The Beriev Aircraft Plant is reported to be refurbishing and modernizing A-50s, Russia’s crucial spy planes, after Ukraine shot down two of the valuable but scarce aircraft, the think tank the Institute for the Study of War said.

Geolocated footage shows an explosion taking place near the plant, and satellite imagery appears to show damage at the facility.

The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed that Russian forces intercepted 41 Ukrainian drones overnight over Rostov Oblast.

Russian sources claimed that the plant was repairing an A-50 that had been previously damaged in a drone attack.

It is unclear when the plane was damaged, but the ISW said it might have been damaged at the Machulishchi Air Base in Minsk, Belarus, in February 2023.

Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Goncharenko told Newsweek that the Taganrog plant was “heavily damaged” and that an A-50 aircraft close to the facility was either destroyed or sustained significant damage.

A Russian A-50 had been seen in satellite imagery at the facility about a week before the drone strike, but it is unclear whether it was still in the area at the time of the attack.

The A-50 is a radar early-warning aircraft that allows Russia to detect incoming Ukrainian missiles and identify ground targets.

The aircraft are valuable but in limited supply. Ukrainian defense official Kyrylo Budanov estimated last month that Russia only had six A-50s left.

The UK Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update earlier this month that Russia had likely grounded its A-50 fleet due to unsustainable losses.

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