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Ukraine conflict: Russian bomber base hit in airstrike

A file photo of a Tu-95 bomber. It was reported that two such aircraft were damaged in an attack on Engels-2 airbase in the early hours of 5 December. (UAC)

A Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) airbase that houses strategic bombers was seemingly attacked on 5 December.

Engels-2 airbase, about 400 km east of Ukraine and 700 km southeast of Moscow, was apparently struck by at least one air-launched munition in the early hours of 5 December, footage from a nearby CCTV appears to confirm. The base hosts a squadron of Tupolev Tu-95 ‘Bear' and Tu-160 ‘Blackjack' bombers.

As seen in the footage, a jet-powered missile or unmanned aircraft passed low overhead a housing complex, a few km from the base before impacting the base with a large explosion a few seconds later. Given the 29 seconds from the sound of the munition overhead the CCTV camera to the impact approximately 6 km away, the projectile was travelling at about 750 km/h.

Home to the Long Range Aviation command, 22nd Guards Heavy Bomber Division, and 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment, Engels-2 airbase has been the launch pad for stand-off Kh‐101, Kh-55, and Kh‐555 cruise missile attacks against Ukraine. The wider Engels base complex is supposed to be protected by the 511th Guards Air Defence Regiment that fields the S-400 ground-based air-defence system.

According to media reports, two Tu-95s were damaged in the attack.

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