forbes (from sasha kots on telegram)

Ukraine Pulled Ex-Soviet Recon Drones Out Of Storage, Added Bombs And Sent Them Hurtling Toward Russia
David Axe, Forbes, Dec 5 2022 06:09pm EST

An ex-Soviet Tu-141 variant in storage in Moscow in 2012

The drones that Ukrainian forces used to strike two Russian bomber bases 300 miles inside Russia on Monday weren’t the satellite-controlled, missile-armed Bayraktar TB-2s that Ukraine acquired from Turkey. No, they were reportedly Tupolev Tu-141s, ex-Soviet antiques that last saw front-line use in the 1980s, flying photo-reconnaissance missions for the Soviet air force. As developments of the first-generation recon drones that the USAF deployed in the Vietnam War, the jet-propelled Tu-141 wasn’t very sophisticated by 1980s standards. It’s even less sophisticated today. But it’s simple, speedy and big enough to haul a warhead weighing hundreds of pounds, making it much more powerful than a TB-2 with its 49 lb missiles. The Tu-141 works. So it should come as no surprise that the Ukrainians are sending their Tu-141s on one-way missions to blow up Russian bombers.

Drones have been around since WW1. The first models were radio-controlled targets for gunnery practice. In the 1950s, the USAF and California target-maker Ryan Aeronautical developed the Model 147, a 30-ft jet-propelled drone with what was, for the time, a highly-sophisticated inertial navigation system and a nose full of expensive cameras. Model 147s flew thousands of missions over Vietnam, shooting photos of targets for manned bombers later to strike. Armed versions were in development when the war ended and the Model 147 program came to an abrupt end. The Soviet air force soon developed similar drones. The Tu-141 first flew in 1974. Tupolev built 142 copies of the 47-ft ramp-launched drone at its factory in Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine. The type served until 1989. Some Tu-141s and similar Tu-143s were in storage in Ukraine when Russian troops invaded the country in 2014. Ukrainian technicians began pulling the 30-year-old drones from warehouses and reconditioning them. Russian-backed separatists shot down at least two Tu-143s over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The Ukrainian air force operates a handful of manned Sukhoi Su-24 bombers but can’t afford to lose them on a dangerous deep strike hundreds of miles inside Russian territory. The Tu-141 is an obvious substitute. It’s fast at 600 mph and if it’s anything like the Model 147, can fly as high as 20k ft or as low as treetop height. Its inertial navigation system can keep it within a few miles of its planned course over a distance of more than a thousand miles. It recovers by cutting its engine and popping a parachute. Remove the cameras and add explosives, and the Tu-141 becomes a cruise missile rather than a recon drone. It was apparent as early as March that the Ukrainian air force had modified some of its Tu-141s for one-way suicide missions. A Tu-141 that went off course and crashed in Croatia on Mar 10 reportedly had a bomb aboard. The Ukrainians this summer sent at least two Tu-143s on raids in or near Kursk, in western Russia, 50 miles from Ukraine. Russian air-defenses shot down both drones. This morning, the drones finally got through. It’s hard to say how many Tu-141s and Tu-143s Ukraine has left. If any remain, expect more deep strikes targeting Russian bomber bases or other strategic targets.

One Comment

  1. lobro
    Posted December 8, 2022 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    saw “Forbes”, said “bullshit” … sorry about kneejerk … what were we talking about? ah yes, forbes, the biggest goy opium dealership in shanghai and hongkong after all the jews, sassoons, kadoories and others, line up the masonic shabbo goys of the day, sutherlands, jardines and forbses, the petri dish that spawned the likes of john kerry dripping nasal toxins on us from 6′-6″ height.
    opium replaced by even more lucrative and effective narcotic of judaic bullshit, “musk world’s richest, rothschild middle class comfortable, look here, don’t look there, whatever you look at, make sure to see nothing”.

    borzzikman says the drones are jewish and i will trust him even if he is wrong and forbes is right, that’s what friends and enemies are for.

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