Russia’s most prized aircraft shot down infographic
Graphic shows specifications of the Beriev A-50 and the Ilyushin Il-22 aircraft.


Ukraine shoots down two of Russia’s most prized planes

By Jordi Bou

January 17, 2024 - The loss of two planes vital to Moscow’s coordination of ground operations in Ukraine represents a significant blow to Russian air power, with only a limited number of the planes in service.

On January 14, Ukraine’s military shot down Beriev A-50 radar early-warning plane and an Ilyushin Il-22 airborne command post, in Kyiv’s most successful attack on Kremlin aircraft since the start of Putin’s full invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian defence sources said the A-50 was shot down shortly after take-off near Kyrylivka, a coastal town on the northern coast of the Above Sea in the occupied region of Zaporizhya, at 9:10pm local time. Around the same time, the Il-22 airborne command post was struck and damaged.

The sophisticated surveillance planes are key to Russia’s co-ordination of ground operations.

London-based think tank IISS said in a 2021 report that Russia had only nine A-50 aircraft in operation, including four modernised A-50U planes.

Less than a dozen Il-22M are reportedly in service with the Russian Air Force.

PUBLISHED: 17/01/2024; STORY: Graphic News