An Ukrainain Air Force AN-26, image released on 21 May 2014 (Image © Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)

Ukraine AN-30 “downed by newest Russian MANPADS”

An Ukrainain Air Force AN-26, image released on 21 May 2014 (Image © Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)
An Ukrainain Air Force AN-26, image released on 21 May 2014 (Image © Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence confirmed on Saturday 7 June 2014 that one of its few Antonov AN-26 tactical transport aircraft was shot down on Friday 6th in the skies over Slovyansk, with the loss of three out of an eight men crew. Later it confirmed it was an AN-30B instead.

According to a government spokesman another three managed to bail out with parachutes, while the faith of the final two crew members is unknown at the time of this writing. Earlier on Friday pro-Russian separatist forces already claimed to have shot down the fairly large and slow moving twin-engine turboprop aircraft. According to their information officer they used the newest technology from Russia: the Verba man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) with automated fire-control function.

Airborne Forces
If the Verba claim by the rebels is true, the deployment would be remarkable. Only on 30 May 2014 the Russian Ministry of Defence issued a statement they just started to delivery the new MANPADS to the Ivankvsky Airborne Forces division, “as the first to have started receiving and studying the modern system of air defense battle”. With the Verba a soldier in the field only needs a few seconds to lock-on a target, Russian press agency RIA Novosti reported earlier. The Verba has an effective range of between 4.5 to 5.5 km depending on the conditions, with the missile travelling at a reported speed of 1640 feet (500 metres) per second.

Checkpoints
Russia on Saturday said it would strengthen its border checkpoints with Ukraine after international pressure to stop the flow of arms and other material to the separatist militia in the east of Ukraine. Kiev reported on Friday it lost three of its border control locations to armed men.

Losses
The loss of life and Ukrainian military materiel are slowly mounting in the East of Ukraine, where the pro-Russian militia started its armed uprising against the Ukrainian government in the wake of the Russian take-over of the Crimea peninsula in February/May this year. The AN-30B is the first confirmed aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force that has been downed. Earlier the Ukrainian Army Aviation lossed two Mi-8 assault/transport helicopters and three Mi-24 attack helicopters by rebel fire.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

OVERVIEW OF AIRCRAFT LOSSES BY HOSTILE FIRE, ARMED FORCES OF UKRAINE
(compiled by Airheadsfly.com based on official sources)

See also our Overview of the Armed Forces of Ukraine