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Intel source: Ukraine UAV force-landed in Russia’s Khalino explodes during inspection, killing and injuring air force officers

As Russian aviation officers inspected a force-landed Ukrainian explosive drone at Khalino airfield near Russia’s Kursk on 24 September, its charge detonated, causing numerous casualties among the leadership regiment’s leadership, according to a Ukrainian intelligence source.
Russian air force’s Khalino airfield. Illustrative image: open Russian sources via Liga.net
Intel source: Ukraine UAV force-landed in Russia’s Khalino explodes during inspection, killing and injuring air force officers

On 24 September, a Ukrainian drone “safely force-landed” on the runway exploded at the Khalino airfield in Russia’s Kursk Oblast, inflicting casualties on the leadership of a Russian aviation regiment, according to Liga citing its source in the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

The Khalino airfield is located 7 km east of downtown Kursk and hosts the 14th Zhdanov Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, piloting primarily Su-30SM border aircraft. Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the airfield has been closed to civilian flights and used to station Russian fighter jets.

Liga reported that its HUR source claimed that the casualties (killed or wounded) from the drone explosion in Khalino were as follows:

  • a commander of Russia’s 14th Aviation Regiment;
  • one of his deputies;
  • a group of aviation officers;
  • a representative of the FSB military counterintelligence;
  • airfield workers.

According to the Liga source, a “powerful” explosion occurred on the very runway, and the dead and wounded were “taken away from the scene for a long time.”

One of the first reports mentioning the attack on the airfield emerged on a Russian Telegram channel Fighterbomber linked to the Russian Air Force, who wrote: “I should write something about Khakino. It’s hard to write something here. My condolences, brothers. We’ll live!”

Later Fighterbomber described an ostensibly new tactic used by the Ukrainian forces, who allegedly now equip their drones with self-destruction mechanisms, triggering the detonation during attempts to unarm such a drone, which had been downed or grounded by electronic warfare equipment.

The Liga source said that a “Ukrainian UAV” was allegedly intercepted by Russian electronic warfare near the airfield, and then the drone was “safely force-landed” on the runway.

“The leadership of the aviation regiment and FSB officers arrived to inspect it and then take photos. When the ‘respectable’ delegation tried to inspect the ‘trophy’ UAV, a munition detonated,” the Liga source said about the special operation.

This is not the first time Khalino has been hit: the airfield was first hit in 2022. On 27 August 2023, the Ukraine Security Service’s drones targeted the air base, damaging four Su-30s and one MiG-29 on the airfield, S-300 anti-air radars, and two Pantsir SHORAD systems. 

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