In a bizarre yet shocking incident, superpower Russia has failed to safeguard one of its most valuable assets, sparking a stir on the international platform.
Russian police are investigating a break-in at the top-secret airborne nuclear command centre called the “doomsday plane”.
The aircraft was undergoing maintenance at Taganrog-Yuzhny airfield, in the Rostov Region, when the morning activities on the Il-80 highlighted signs of a break-in on the cargo hatch. The subsequent investigation revealed a radio equipment, described as 39 radio stations, was missing from the plane.
The robbery of the equipment worth more than $13,600 has raised questions about the security of sensitive military-related installations.
The aircraft is one of the four Il-80 aircraft.
In service with the 8th Special Purpose Aviation Division at Chkalovsky Airport near Moscow, the Il-80 is designed to keep top Russian officials, including the President, alive and safe and able to communicate with Russian forces in case of nuclear war.
It is well equipped with domes, bulges and antennas and can act as a shield against nuclear blasts while ensuring the ability to communicate with other assets, including ballistic missile submarines, when the ground infrastructure is heavily damaged or destroyed.
The development comes after President Vladimir Putin ploughed vast funds into overhauling the Russian military amid tensions with the West, which is at the highest since the end of the Cold War.
Meanwhile, Russia is developing a third-generation version of its “doomsday” planes that is expected to enter service by 2025.