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Russian Federal Air Transport Agency's classified data leaks online - Ukrainian intelligence

Russian Federal Air Transport Agency's classified data leaks online - Ukrainian intelligence Illustrative photo (flickr com)
Author: Maria Kholina

Ukrainian intelligence conducted a cyber operation against Rosaviatsiya (Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, also known as FATA), successfully obtaining classified documents revealing the aviation crisis in Russia, according to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

As a result of the cyber attack, a significant volume of confidential operational documents from the Russian Ministry of Transport's structural unit, the FATA, was obtained.

This agency is responsible for flight safety and records all extraordinary incidents during the use of Russian aviation. Among the acquired data is a list of daily reports from FATA covering the entire territory of Russia over a period of more than a year and a half.

The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate analyzed the Russian documents and concluded that Russia's civil aviation is on the brink of collapse. Key facts include:

  • In January 2023, 185 aviation accidents were recorded, with the Russian short-haul aircraft Sukhoi Superjet leading with 34 problematic incidents.
  • In the first nine months of 2023, Russia identified 150 cases of technical malfunctions in aircraft, a threefold increase compared to the same period in 2022 when only 50 cases were recorded.
  • The most problematic areas in Russian aviation remain engines, landing gear, and other crucial elements such as hydrosystems, wings, and software.
  • Russia faces serious challenges in servicing aircraft with high flight hours, leading them to seek maintenance in Iran without proper certification.
  • As of March 2022, Russia had approximately 820 civilian aircraft, and nearly 70% of the fleet underwent makeshift service in Iran.
  • A severe shortage of spare parts has led to a phenomenon known as "aviation cannibalism," where over 35% of aircraft are used as donors.
  • In January 2023, among 220 Airbus aircraft, 19 different failures were recorded, including 17 cases of smoke in nine planes.
  • Of the 230 Boeing aircraft used by Russia, 33 technical failures in various aircraft systems were recorded.
  • Every seventh Brazilian Embraer did not withstand Russian operating conditions, with 21 of them in Russia.

The intelligence report emphasizes that the state of Russian aviation is a consequence of sanctions. The most painful measures for Russia include the ban on the supply of aircraft and spare parts, denial of technical maintenance, detention of Russian vessels abroad, and restrictions on access to meteorological information for aviation.

"The military intelligence of Ukraine believes that Moscow, jeopardizing its population, is trying in every way to conceal an endless heap of problems with civil aviation," the report concludes.

It's worth noting that earlier, the Security Service of Ukraine accused the head of FATA, Aleksandr Neradko, of aiding Russian armies by providing aircraft to transport occupiers to the front lines in Ukraine. The Security Service of Ukraine also announced suspicion against oligarch Sergey Skuratov, the CEO of Ural Airlines, which also supports the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Additionally, the Ukrainian resistance recently uncovered that the civilian airline I Fly Airlines is assisting the Kremlin in the war, particularly in transporting troops from Siberia to Rostov.