Long-range drones developed by Ukraine may have been behind attacks on several air bases deep inside Russia that are home to the country’s strategic bombers.
According to Key.Aero’s local expert Vladimir Trendafilovski, the Russian MOD has officially reported that “Soviet-made jet-powered unmanned aerial vehicles” were used in the attacks against Dyagilevo and Engels. These are understood to be Tu-141 long-range reconnaissance drones operated by the Ukrainian Air Force, converted into 'kamikaze' drones – which are known to have been used in similar attacks over a shorter range.
On December 5, 2022, defense manufacturer Ukroboronprom announced the start of “tests” of a new drone with a range of 1,000km (620 miles). It came on the same day that explosions were reported at Engels Air Base, in Russia’s Saratov Oblast, and at Dyagilyaevo Air Base near Ryazan, south-east of Moscow. Ukroboronprom announced it had completed that latest stage of a drone that can carry a 75kg explosive warhead and is effective under Electronic Warfare (EW) measures.