The Russian Air Force has dusted off a 60-year-old relic to meet a thoroughly modern threat. A Beriev BE-12 amphibious patrol aircraft has been spotted over the Black Sea and it’s apparently looking for Ukrainian boat drones. The uncrewed boats have had some success in carrying loads of explosives to damage Russian warships. The drones are apparently more than a match for the gangly Soviet-era flying boats, which lack the modern sensor systems needed to track the stealthy little floating bombs.
“Except for some very lucky sightings, the handful of Be-12s the Black Sea Fleet has available should not be counted on to have a major impact on the Russian attempts to stop the Ukrainian USV attacks,” Frederik Mertens, a strategic analyst with the Hague Center for Security Studies, told Newsweek. Mertens also said bringing back the Berievs “shows how far its naval air force is unprepared.” The Be-12 first flew in the 1950s and was originally designed as a surveillance and submarine hunting platform.