Putin’s ‘Doomsday’ plane is seen flying during Victory Day parade
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The Ilyushin Il-80 is a Russian built aircraft with emergency strategic equipment built in which will allow Putin to continue ruling over events should a nuclear war break out. Numerous flights have been spotted over the capital and are likely to coincide with the Russian 9 May victory parade celebrations.
Russian officials have also confirmed the aircraft will be showcased in the parade on Red Square originally held to celebrate the fall of Adolf Hitler and the end of World War II.
The aircraft has highly distinctive features including a windowless fuselage and an exaggerated radar detection dome on the roof of the cockpit.
The Il-80, built in the Soviet Union era has not been seen in the skies above such a parade since 2010.
Some analysts believe the reappearance of the “doomsday” plane is part of a message Putin wishes to send to the West over growing concerns the war with Ukraine could spread to NATO members and European nations.
Adding to the fanfare, Russian strategic missile carriers will also take to the skies in the parade.
The Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear” and Tu-160 “White Swan” will also fly past the iconic square in the heart of Moscow.
In addition to the nuclear-capable bombers, Russia’s latest fifth-generation fighter jet the Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet will be joined by the Tu-22 supersonic bomber codenamed “Blinder” by NATO forces.
Eight Mig-29s will also fly over the square in a “Z” formation, a sign now synonymous with the Russian military and the invasion of its southern neighbour Ukraine.
The Il-80, known as the “Maxdome” by NATO forces first flew in 1985 and has 4 units in the fleet.
The aircraft is a heavily modified version of the Il-86 and is capable of flying at around 33,000 feet at a cruising speed of over 500 mph.
On-board air conditioning is filtered to keep out radioactive fallout.
It is hardened against flash and electromagnetic pulse.
All cabin windows are deleted, including the portholes in the doors, in order to protect it from an electromagnetic pulse or nuclear explosion.
Cabin entry doors are deleted except for the upper deck forward door on the left and the aft door on the right.
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The aircraft operate out of the 8th Special Purpose Aviation Division at Chkalovsky Air Base located to the northeast of Moscow.
The base is also home to a cosmonaut training centre and saw Yuri Gagarin set off from the base in what would be his last and ultimately fatal flight.
According to reports, the May 9 parade will nonetheless be a diluted version of previous events due to the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
There will be fewer tanks and self-propelled artillery vehicles taking part in the parade.
Around 130 military vehicles will be taking part in the parade, compared with 191 last year.
Active personnel will also be reduced, seeing around 10,000 take part, down from 2,000 in previous parades.
What does the appearance of the “Doomsday” plane say about Putin’s frame of mind? Could the war with Ukraine become nuclear? How should NATO and Western forces react? Let us know what you think by CLICKING HERE and joining the conversation in our comments section below – Every Voice Matters!
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky commented on the watered-down version of the parade recently.
He said: Yes, they still have missiles to strike at our territory, but this war has already weakened Russia so much they have to plan even less military equipment for the parade in Moscow.”
Russian forces are said to have witnessed catastrophic losses to their equipment and personnel alike, with reports suggesting battalions are being forced to merge in order to maintain minimum numbers.
Mr Zelensky Hhas stated since the start of the war in late February, Russia has lost more than 1,000 tanks, 2,500 infantry fighting vehicles and nearly 200 planes.
Threats of a nuclear war are still emanating with Russian state TV recently parading a map showing strike times should Russia choose to hit European targets.
A 200-second route was shown between Russia and London, suggesting hypersonic weapons could be used in such an event.
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