Russian air bases were hit by neither Ukroboronprom nor Soviet-era drones – FT

7 December, 2022 Wednesday – ESPRESO

The British newspaper reports that Russian airbases were not attacked by Soviet Tu-141 Strizh or Ukroboronprom drones, those were other developments that could not be jammed

This is reported by the Financial Times.

“The drones that attacked the Russian airfields are neither Ukroboronprom models nor modified Soviet ones, but rather a joint initiative of the government and the private sector, which is able to release new developments more often,” the newspaper writes, citing the defense adviser to the Ukrainian government.

The source stressed that the UAVs used inertial navigation systems to target objects that do not require a satellite link, so they cannot be jammed, but are less accurate than GPS: “This would make them more difficult to intercept and explain how they managed to get through Russian air defense systems”.

One of the Ukrainian engineers developing drones for the military is reported to have said that the drones believed to have been used in the latest attacks “could travel at speeds close to the speed of sound, and replacing the original Tu-141 camera would allow for more than 50 kg of explosives, maybe even 100 kg.”

“In essence, it would be a cheap cruise missile,” noted a Ukrainian engineer developing drones for the military in a comment to the FT, adding that it would take time to build such equipment from scratch and replenish supplies.

On December 5, the military airfields Dyagilevo in the Ryazan region and Engels in the Saratov region were hit. Three Russian servicemen who were at the airfield were killed. Four others were injured. Both airfields serve aircraft that launch missiles over the territory of Ukraine. According to unconfirmed data, two Tu-95MS strategic bombers were damaged in an explosion at one of the airfields, and a fuel tank exploded at another. In the evening, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation admitted that two airfields had been hit.

Ukrainian military experts believe that strikes on Russian military airfields have a very serious and ideological significance for Putin. He was slapped again as one of his nuclear triad elements was damaged.

The strikes on air bases in Russia caused a flood of criticism from pro-government bloggers.


  1. It’s good that there is confusion about the methodology behind the strikes. The truth probably will emerge once peace has returned.
    There needs to be a LOT more like this. Crimea, which has been converted into a giant military base, needs to be smashed, de-fanged and denazified.
    For that to happen, longer range fires are needed in numbers.
    The level of assistance received by Ukraine needs to be massively increased.
    OFP posted yesterday a crucial article, which really ought to be the template for enduring Ukraine’s victory over the most evil regime since the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact:-

    It was written by Frank Ledwidge, a British Barrister, former army officer and author who is better qualified than most to work as a military pundit. If his words are followed to the letter, the putinazis will be blown away quite quickly.

  2. Another take on this important story from Euromaidan Press:

    “Ukraine has the capability to attack Moscow with new classified weaponry now.

    The Russian strategic airbases in Dyagilevo and Engels have become the most distant targets hit by the Ukrainian Armed Forces during the nine-month-long war.

    The Ukrainian strikes on the Russian rear more than 700 km from Ukraine make military experts all over the world wonder what weaponry stands behind such brazen attacks. Whatever weapon has been used, it is definitely a game changer in the war. Ukraine’s ability to reach targets within the operating range of around 1000 km means that the Russian capital Moscow can now be hit from Ukrainian territory.

    Back in November 2022, Ukraine’s state defense corporation Ukroboronprom announced the final production stage of new Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of carrying 75 kg of explosives with an operating range of around 1000 km. Currently, the production of these UAVs is one of the most mysterious projects of the Ukrainian arms industry. It is highly likely Ukraine may have employed its newly produced UAVs to hit the Russian strategic airbases on 5 December 2022.

    On the other hand, Ukraine might as well have chosen another path by adapting old Soviet UAVs to modern needs. The Ukrainian OSINT group Defense Express asserts that the modernization of Tu-143 and Tu-141, Soviet-era armed drones designed back in the 1970s and 1980s, seems to be a reasonable option for Ukraine today. Both of these drones have jet engines and can fly at a low altitude (up to 10 meters high) with a transonic speed of 950-1100 km/h. The operating range of Tu-143 is 200 km, while Tu-141 can reach targets within 1000 km.

    Before these long-range drone strikes on the Russian strategic airbases, only Russia could hit targets this deep in the enemy’s rear, including Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. Now the situation has changed dramatically for Moscow.”

    Read more:

  3. Occam’s razor suggests that ‘the simplest answer is most often correct’. Surely it’s early gifts from Santa Claus with more to come!

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