Ukraine officials say their military shot down a second Russian A-50 aerial command and control aircraft in less than a month but there are also reports the plane was downed by friendly fire. Whatever happened, it appears to be confirmed that the $330 million aircraft, one of eight in the Russian Air Force inventory, went down in a fireball in the Krasnodor region in occupied Ukraine more than 150 miles from the front lines. Russian authorities haven’t confirmed the loss but military bloggers have and social media is carrying video of the incident.

The A-50 is used extensively for targeting and attack coordination. The downing came just after two attacks on Odessa that killed three people. The A-50 is based on the Il-76 and is normally a highly protected asset. If the video reports on the crash are accurate, the A-50 was hit by a missile while apparently taking evasive action at only about 1,000 feet.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Epic! According to media reports, the A-50 was hit by a Soviet S-200, a long-range, high-altitude surface-to-air missile (SAM) system developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Go, Ukraine!

  2. If the editors of AVWeb are monitoring these comments is there a way you can stop the comments involving political commentary particularly when it has absolutely nothing to do with the article being commented on. Thank you.

    • Pay no attention to Kent, Dave. He suffers from a dreadful condition known as “keyboard myoclonus”, and can be quite charming when offline.

    • We do our best, Dave. I’m perhaps guilty of letting too much go because it is, after all, a place to share opinions. They will inevitably offend someone and cross whatever line they’ve set on acceptability here. Name calling, hate speech and irrelevant political commentary will be nuked but I do have other things to do so I’m not on here all the time. Anyone who sees anything particularly terrible is welcome to email me at [email protected].