Tu-141 “Strizh,” a Soviet UAV that challenges sophisticated air defence systems.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Tu-141 “Strizh” is said to have recently taken part in a raid on bases in Russia. It has successfully traversed the boundaries of several NATO nations without being spotted.

At least three troops were killed in drone attacks on three major Russian air bases on December 5 and 6, which were situated 90 to 600 kilometres from the Ukrainian border. When Kiev employed UAVs made in the (old) Soviet era, Russia verified that Kiev was responsible for the strikes.

The Russian side also disclosed that the Dyagilevo and Engels bases’ air defence troops attempted to intercept the UAV. The damage observed, however, indicates that it appears that the interception effort was undertaken when the UAV looked to be too close to the base, causing the explosion’s debris to fly erratically.

military sources who stated that the Soviet-era UAV model in the cases was the Tu-141 “Strizh,” despite the fact that Russia did not specify the name of the type of UAV taking part in the raid.

The Tu-141 was created in the 1970s and used by the former Soviet army from 1979 to 1989, primarily for surveillance flights close to NATO nations on the western frontier. The Tu-123, which has been in use since the 1960s, has been updated to create this UAV variant.

The Tu-141 was created by the Tupolev design bureau and was manufactured in bulk at a factory in Kharkov, Ukraine. It has a range of about 1,000 km, a top speed of up to 1,100 km/h, and is one of the first UAVs to ever use a KR-17A jet engine. It is also close to Mach 1.

The Tu-141 UAV has a length of over 14 meters, a wingspan of almost 4 meters, and a maximum take-off weight of roughly 8 tons, according to the AviaPro news website. As with a rocket, the Tu-141 takes off from a launch vehicle and lands on a parachute rather than a runway like a regular aircraft.

This UAV, which was made in the Soviet Union, has terrain-simulating radars, film cameras, and infrared cameras, but it can also remove the reconnaissance gear to carry bombs. If it carries explosives, it resembles a cruise missile because of its high speed and long range.

The former Soviet Union (Soviet Union) fell apart, the Tu-141 was nearly abandoned in Russia because to its outdated design, however Ukraine is rumoured to still maintain and run these installations. In 2014, as fighting started in eastern Ukraine, the Tu-141 was seen flying over the area close to the Russian border.

A Tu-141 resurfaced in a unique fashion in March 2022 after Russia initiated a special military operation: It left Ukraine, flew across Romania and Hungary, and crashed in Croatia (three NATO nations), with no one reacting.

According to a statement made by Hungarian and Croatian officials, they had identified the Tu-141 but were unable to take any action. This newspaper reported on the findings of the scene analysis in Croatia, which showed that the Tu-141 was carrying a little OFAB 100-120 bomb.

Although there were no casualties, the episode showed the difficulties that cutting-edge air defence systems encounter in intricate warfare.

Ukraine appears to have deployed Tu-143s, an enhanced version of the Tu-141, in recent military actions in addition to the Tu-141. Ukraine despatched two Tu-143s on a mission in the summertime close to the Russian state of Kursk, but by that time they had all been shot down.

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