Drone attack targets Russian air base, damages strategic bomber

Alexander Beltyukov / Wikimedia Commons

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) targeted a Russian air base in the Novgorod region. The incident occurred at approximately 10:00 Moscow time on August 19, 2023.

The UAV, whose model and operator are unknown, targeted the Soltsy-2 air base in Novgorod Oblast. Russian authorities have blamed the Ukrainian military for the attack.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the “copter-type” drone was fired upon with small arms in an attempt to shoot it down. The attack resulted in a significant fire breaking out on the airfield’s apron. One aircraft sustained damage due to the incident, the ministry confirmed. There were no reported casualties among military personnel or civilians.

Located 660 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, the base houses a number of Tupolev Tu-22M3 “Backfire” aircraft, a strategic bomber with a variable-sweep wing developed during the Soviet era. Operated by four crew members, this aircraft can reach speeds above 2,000 kilometers per hour and deliver more than 12 tons of ordnance, either conventional or nuclear. The Russian Federation has regularly used Tu-22M3 bombers for missile attacks on Ukraine, using Kh-22 supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles.

The Twitter account @olga_pp98, which monitors Russia’s strategic aviation forces using HF radio emissions, reported that at least six Tu-22M3 aircraft relocated from Soltsy-2 to Olenya air base, located north of the Arctic Circle in the Kola Peninsula, later on August 19, 2023.

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