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Drone attack on Russian airfields. Russia could lose 5% of all Tu-95 fleet, - ISW

Drone attack on Russian airfields. Russia could lose 5% of all Tu-95 fleet, - ISW Photo: Russian bomber Tu-95 (getty images)

If the information from Ukrainian media about serious damage to three Tu-95MS strategic bombers at the Russian Engels-2 airbase during the drone attack on the night of April 5 is confirmed, it will be possible to assert that Russia has lost approximately 5% of these aircraft, which is a "significant loss," according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The Institute noted that Ukrainian drone strikes typically target individual airbases in Russia. Ukraine's ability to attack three airbases in a single series of strikes represents a "notable inflection in the capabilities."

Russian forces regularly use Tu-95 strategic bombers stationed at the Engels airbase to launch Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine.

According to ISW estimates as of 2023, Russia had approximately 60 Tu-95 aircraft.

"If confirmed (aircraft damage, - ed.), the possible loss of roughly five percent of Russia’s strategic Tu-95 bombers in a single strike would be notable," the report said.

Earlier, the Institute noted that aircraft losses for Russia are not insignificant, as it likely has around 300 various Su-type aircraft. Currently, Russian forces use these aircraft to conduct strikes with guided and unguided glide bombs along the entire frontline in Ukraine, previously employing significantly enhanced glide bomb strikes to achieve tactical advantages.

Constant Ukrainian strikes on Russian airfields will degrade the ability of Russia's Aerospace Forces (VKS) to deliver missile and aerial strikes across Ukraine's territory, experts say.

Simultaneous strikes on three airbases

According to RBC-Ukraine sources, on the night of April 5, the Main Intelligence Directorate, together with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, organized an operation that targeted three Russian airbases.

According to sources in the Main Intelligence Directorate, as a result of the drone attack, at least three Tu-95MS strategic bombers at the Engels-2 airbase likely suffered serious damage. Seven occupiers were killed there, among them possibly the pilots of the bombers.

Another target of the attack was the military airfield in Yeysk. As a result of Ukrainian drone strikes, at least four occupiers were killed there, and two enemy Su-25 aircraft were completely destroyed by fire.

The interlocutors also reported strikes on another airfield in Kursk. Details of the results of this attack are not yet available.

More details about the airfields attacked by Ukrainian defenders can be found in the material by RBC-Ukraine.