Dyagilevo airport is more than 500 km from Ukrainian-controlled territory, while Engels airport is about 700 km away. A Tu-141 drone strike is possible.
Russian media reported that on December 5, there were large explosions at two Russian airports, causing a number of casualties and damaging a number of Tu-95 strategic bombers. The attack weapon is believed to be Ukrainian Tu-141 drones. This information is yet to be confirmed. In fact, almost all the media, academics and even politicians seriously suspect that the two explosions, very coincidentally in time, were Ukrainian raids.
Previously, Ukrainian UAVs attacked the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol and targeted the Russian navy in Crimea, but the December 5 attack was deep inside Russia. Dyagilevo airport is more than 500 km from Ukrainian-controlled territory, while Engels airport is about 700 km away. A Tu-141 drone strike is possible. This aircraft was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s with a range of up to 1,000 km.
The Tupolev Tu-141 Strizh is a Soviet reconnaissance drone that historically served with the Soviet Army during the late 1970s and 1980s, mostly on the western borders of the Soviet Union. It was pressed back into service by the Ukrainian Air Force after 2014 for the War in Donbas.
The Tu-141 was a follow-on to the Tupolev Tu-123 and is a relatively large, medium-range reconnaissance drone. It is designed to undertake reconnaissance missions several kilometers behind the front lines at transsonic speeds. It can carry a range of payloads, including film cameras, infrared imagers, EO imagers, and imaging radar.
As with previous Tupolev designs, it has a dart-like rear-mounted delta wing, forward-mounted canards, and a KR-17A turbojet engine mounted above the tail. It is launched from a trailer using a solid-propellant booster and lands with the aid of a tail-mounted parachute. The Strizh has a cruise speed of 1,000 km/h and a max range of 1,000 km at medium altitudes.
The Tupolev Tu-141 had its first-flight in 1974 and was formally inducted into Soviet military service in 1979. Production of the series ran from 1979 until 1989 and some 142 are believed to have been manufactured. The original purpose of the Tu-141 was a reconnaissance aircraft. However, there were other variations as well. It is possible to modify the Tu-141 into a suicide-type assault weapon, and the December 5 raid on Russian airports is an example.