US Confirms: Ukraine Downs Russian Early Warning Aircraft

( – Ukraine downed a Russian aircraft using a US Patriot missile in January 2024, according to Colonel Rosanna Clemente. Clemente, a US Army officer of the 10th Air and Missile Defense Command, stated that the Beriev A-50 aircraft is an early warning and control system (AWACS).

According to Clemente, Patriot systems have been used to protect stationary sites as well as mobile and other critical infrastructure. They refer to the tactic as “SAMbush,” which involves Patriot missiles fired from trucks. She stated that the A-50 was flying in the area, supposedly monitoring their activities, when the anti-air Ukrainian team fired the missiles that brought it down.

The system used to fire the US Patriot missiles was given to Ukraine by the Germans, as they are extremely mobile since the system is mounted on trucks. Clemente asserts that the deployment of these systems near the front lines allows them to target Russian aircraft.

Beriev manufactured the Russian A-50, which entered service in the 1980s. In 2011, Beriev upgraded the A-50 to the A-50U, which can monitor air targets from 400 miles away. It can monitor ground targets up to 180 miles away. It is able to monitor about 300 ground or 40 air targets at one time, according to media sources.

The A-50s, with a crew of 15, can manage 10 air-to-air fighters or missions against ground targets. Being able to refuel without landing allows the A-50s the ability to remain airborne for lengthy periods of time. Each of the A-50s cost over $300 million, according to sources.

According to figures in the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft database, Russia was believed to have 15 A-50s prior to its invasion of Ukraine. Two A-50s reportedly suffered damage or went down in 2023.

Colonel Natalia Humeniuk, a Ukrainian defense officer, claimed that Russia used their A-50s to monitor their territory in order to carry out devastating missile strikes. Humeniuk asserted that the significant destruction of the A-50 in January will delay future targeting of Ukraine.

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