It’s likely that Russia is using a 60-year old amphibious aircraft to search for Ukrainian threats like drones in the Black Sea Fleet, according to intelligence sources and reports.
Kyiv as ramped up attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and other targets around the occupied Crimean peninsula as part of an ongoing counteroffensive. This includes cruise missile strikes on a key shipyard and the fleet’s headquarters and attacks with uncrewed surface vessels (USVs), also known as sea drones, on Russian ships.
In early August, Ukraine employed sea drones in two major attacks, damaging the ship Olenegorsky Gornyak at the Russian port of Novorossiysk, and disabling the Russian merchant tanker Sig near the Kerch Strait.
“In recent weeks, the Naval Aviation component of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has assumed a particularly important role in the Fleet’s operations as it struggles to deal with concurrent threats on the southern flank of the Ukraine war,” Britain’s defense ministry wrote in a Monday intelligence update. “Naval Aviation is emphaszing maritime air patrol operations, highly likely with a primary mission of the early identification of uncrewed surface vessels,” Britain’s defense ministry said. “A key Russian asset in these operations is the Be-12 MAIL amphibious aircraft, designed in the 1950s, flying out of bases in occupied Crimea.”