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Ukrainians might have hit Russia’s third A-50 radar plane, but ISW can’t confirm it yet

Reports suggest Ukrainian drone strikes overnight targeted a Russian aircraft plant in Rostov Oblast that refurbishes and modernizes A-50 radar planes, but ISW can’t confirm the damage.
Russian Air Force Beriev A-50U (Red 41) radar plane. Illustrative image:
Ukrainians might have hit Russia’s third A-50 radar plane, but ISW can’t confirm it yet

Ukrainian forces reportedly carried out drone strikes targeting Rostov Oblast overnight on March 8-9, possibly hitting a Russian aircraft plant that refurbishes and modernizes Russian A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft. However, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says it cannot confirm the reported damage.

Earlier, Ukraine destroyed two A-50s near the Sea of Azov, leading to a significant reduction in Russian air strikes and increased losses of Russian aircraft.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that Russian forces shot down 41 Ukrainian drones over Rostov Oblast overnight. Eyewitnesses reportedly said that the attack caused at least five explosions.

Geolocated footage of a strike shows an explosion at the Beriev Aircraft Plant in Taganrog, located in Rostov Oblast:

The Beriev Aircraft Plant in Taganrog is reportedly refurbishing and modernizing Russian A-50 aircraft for use in Ukraine. Russian sources claimed that the plant was repairing an A-50 damaged in a previous drone strike, possibly referring to the attack on a Russian A-50 at the Machulishchi Air Base in Minsk, Belarus, in February 2023.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty published satellite imagery dated 29 February showing that the geolocated explosion occurred about 900 meters from a Russian A-50 aircraft previously located at the Beriev Aircraft Plant. It is unclear whether the A-50 was in the same location at the time of the strike.

Senior Ukrainian officials have not commented on the strike at the time of this publication.

ISW says it is unable to confirm that the reported strike damaged any Russian A-50 aircraft, facilities repairing or refurbishing aircraft, or other Russian military infrastructure in the area.

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