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Russia may attempt to reactivate older A-50 aircraft after the loss of two planes – UK Defence Intelligence

Saturday, 2 March 2024, 14:33
Russia may attempt to reactivate older A-50 aircraft after the loss of two planes – UK Defence Intelligence
The A-50 airplane. Photo: Wikipedia

UK Defence Intelligence has assessed that one week after losing its second A-50U long-range radar detection aircraft, Russia has most likely ceased flights of this aircraft to support operations in Ukraine.

Source: UK Defence Intelligence review dated 2 March, as reported by European Pravda

UK intelligence says that the grounding of the A-50 will continue until internal investigations are completed regarding the inability to protect another crucial asset and how to reduce the ongoing threat posed by Ukrainian air defence.

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Quote: "The loss of this capability providing daily command and control to Russian air operations highly likely significantly degrades the situational awareness provided to air crews," the review reads.

It is emphasised that this capability gap is something Russia cannot afford.

"It is likely that Russia will have to explore options to bridge this gap, including repurposing aircraft and accepting greater risk to provide the effective air support its ground forces require, but are likely not receiving," the intelligence states.

They add that the fatigue of aircraft and crews will almost certainly intensify when the A-50s resume operations, and the fleet will become increasingly stretched.

"It is a realistic possibility Russia may attempt to bring previously mothballed A-50 airframes back into service to alleviate this," UK Defence Intelligence believes.

Background:

  • Earlier, UK Defence Intelligence stated that although Russia still has a reserve of A-50 aircraft, losing an experienced crew could be quite significant. The recent incident of the downing of this aircraft raises questions about the effectiveness of the planning and protection by Russian forces of such valuable assets.
  • After the downing of the first A-50, UK Defence Intelligence reported that Russia had begun using a new similar aircraft, but with more caution. They also suggested that the loss of the aircraft was almost certainly not an accident.

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