Russia would have lost a Beriev A-50U ‘Mainstay’ airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft in addition having a badly damaged Il-22M airborne command turboprop, both over the Sea of Azov, south of the Ukrainian region invaded by Russian troops.
The Ukrainian Air Force released an image on its social networks showing the silhouette of the two planes, used to guide attacks from the ground and by fighter jets.
The A-50U is an important asset for the Russian Air Force and of which there are only a few active aircraft. Based on the Il-76 transport plane, the “Mainstay” was developed by Beriev to carry a rotating radar on its fuselage.
According to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense, Russia had decided to take some A-50Us to monitor Ukraine in preparation for the arrival of F-16 fighters donated by European countries.
The Il-22M is an Il-18 turboprop that operates as an airborne command post and of which Russia would have even fewer aircraft in service.
Despite claiming to have shot down the Il-22M, an aircraft riddled with bullet holes appeared in a social media post attributed to Russian military blogs.
The aircraft reportedly made a successful emergency landing, despite the damage. The Russian government had not commented on the allegations until the publication of this article.