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Not Even Russia’s Doomsday Plane, the Ilyushin Il-80, Is Safe from Thieves

Not even Russia’s so-called “doomsday plane” is safe from thieves, so what hope is there left for us regular folks and our less-badass cars, bikes, and motos?
Russia's most classified aircraft, the Ilyushin Il-80, has been hit by thieves 1 photo
The BBC reports, citing local Russian outlets, that one of the four aircraft Russian officials would use in case of a nuclear blast has pretty much been stripped of equipment while laying at an airfield for repairs. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that the theft went unnoticed for several days.

The Ilyushin Il-80 is often referred to as Russia’s “doomsday plane” and should carry high-ranking officials and president Putin to safety in case of a nuclear attack. What it lacks in speed and high-altitude flying, it more than makes up for in terms of long-range armament and incredibly high survivability to critical damage and fire.

The Il-80 is considered Russia’s most classified aircraft, which explains why not much is known about it. But it is believed to be able to offer some protection in case of a nuclear attack, and as such, could serve as an airborne command post in such an event.

While plans exist to replace the long-standing Il-80 (in service since 1987) with the Il-96-400M, no date has been set for them. In early 2019, this Il-80 went in for repairs at an airfield in the southern region of Rostov, the BBC says, which is where it was targeted by thieves. Authorities wouldn’t confirm exactly what was taken or how the thieves got in, but one report mentions that “39 units of equipment and five radio boards” were snatched, presumably through a cargo hatch breach.

The theft occurred sometime between November 26, when the last inspection was made, and December 4, when the theft was reported. The ongoing investigation is working with fingerprints and footprints lifted at the site, the report says. Which probably means the thieves weren’t exactly masterminds to leave so many clues behind.


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