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Significance of elimination of Russian A-50 aircraft - UK intelligence

Significance of elimination of Russian A-50 aircraft - UK intelligence A-50 joined the Russian "underwater" fleet (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

The successful elimination of a Russian long-range radar detection and control aircraft, the A-50, will lead to restrictions on the operational zones of the Russian aviation, according to the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom.

According to the report, on January 14, the A-50 almost certainly exploded and subsequently crashed into the western Sea of Azov. Concurrently, a Russian IL-22M COOT B aircraft was reported damaged but landed in a nearby Russian airfield.

Meanwhile, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, claimed responsibility for the loss of the A-50 and damage to the COOT B.

According to British intelligence, the potential successful downing of the A-50 by Ukraine holds significant importance.

"It is likely that Russia will now be forced to reconsider limiting the operational areas of its aircraft. The A-50 is critical to the Russian air surveillance picture over the battlespace," the statement said.

According to the Ministry of Defense of Britain, the Russian Air Force possesses eight A-50 airframes which can likely cover the immediate operational impact. "However, the increased stress on the remaining airframes coupled with the loss of the crew will likely constrain longer term mission sustainability," the statement concluded.