Russian M-55 Geophysica: Threat to Ukraine?
Assessing the potential use of high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft Myasishchev M-55 Geophysica in the Russia-Ukraine war
Defense Express writes about it.
The British Ministry of Defense recently hinted at Russia's possible revival of the M-55 Geophysica, an old high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, to bolster its limited reconnaissance capabilities over Ukraine. While Defense Express doesn't directly comment on the British claims, the publication explores the feasibility of Russia employing the M-55 for combat operations against Ukraine.
In November, Defense Express reported the de-conservation of the M-55, suggesting two potential purposes: testing onboard equipment for Russian tactical aircraft or using it for its original reconnaissance role.
Originally designed for operational-tactical complexes like Oka, the M-55's range is limited to 300 to 500 km, ruling out deep strategic reconnaissance.
Notably, the M-55 was equipped with a UKR-RT bloc for radio-technical intelligence, aimed at detecting anti-aircraft defense means within a range of "tens to hundreds of kilometers." However, this range is insufficient for aerial reconnaissance of Ukraine from Russian airspace.
To conduct such missions, the M-55 would have to fly over occupied Ukrainian territories, given its limited range of 1.2 thousand km. This needs deploying the aircraft to Russian border airfields, making its use against Ukraine more plausible.
If Russia moves the M-55 to border airfields, the possibility of its specific use in combat operations against Ukraine becomes more realistic, the article concludes.
- UK intelligence stated that Russia is contemplating using the M-55 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft in its war on Ukraine.
- Serhiy Zgurets, Defense Express director and military expert, emphasized that the buzz over the return of M-55 Geophysica aircraft to Russian service is an overreaction.