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US confirms Ukraine used Patriot to down Russia’s valuable A-50 radar plane in January

A senior US Army officer has confirmed that Ukraine used American-made Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to down a Russian Beriev A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft in January 2024, a historic first.
russian air force beriev a-50u (red 41) radar plane illustrative milru 1032px-airborne_early_warning_and_control_aircraft_a-50u_(red_41)
Russian Air Force Beriev A-50U (Red 41) radar plane. Illustrative image: Mil.ru
US confirms Ukraine used Patriot to down Russia’s valuable A-50 radar plane in January

US Colonel Rosanna Clemente, assistant chief of staff of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, stated that Ukraine’s Patriot systems are being utilized in various roles, with some protecting static sites while others are highly mobile and are used as a “SAMbush,” NewsWeek reported.

They’re doing that with extremely mobile Patriot systems that were donated by the Germans, because the systems are all mounted on the trucks,” she revealed at the Fires Symposium event last month, adding that Ukraine used this tactic “to engage the first A-50 C2 [command and control] system back in January.”

As the A-50 aircraft was monitoring situation in the area, Ukrainian anti-air teams employed the mobile ‘SAMbush’ tactic, which involves rapidly deploying near the front and targeting enemy aircraft, to take it down.

Clemente highlighted the historic nature of this strike, stating, “I haven’t seen [anything like this] in 22 years of being an air defender.

The downing of the A-50 marked the first time Ukraine has successfully engaged such a valuable Russian command and control asset with the advanced Patriot system.

A month later, Ukraine destroyed the second Russian A-50 radar plane, reportedly using a modified antiquated S-200 SAM system.

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