Buzz over return of M-55 Geofizika aircraft to Russian service is overreaction — military expert Zgurets
Serhiy Zgurets, Defense Express CEO and military expert, emphasizes that the flight altitude of 20 km for the M-55 Geofizika is not the sole indicator; it is crucial to understand the type of equipment that will be employed on this aircraft
He shared his opinions with Espreso TV.
"The Defense Express website initially reported Russia's decommissioning of the M-55 Geofizika aircraft on November 5, and subsequently, this information was echoed by British intelligence. In my opinion, this is a bit of an overreaction, because these are actually aircraft from the 60s, 70s, and 90s that have undergone various modernization options. There are only five of these aircraft. I don't know how many of them are still flying. These aircraft were designed for reconnaissance. As for the issue of altitude, 20 km is a matter of the altitude of the airframe itself. That is, if you have equipment that can see the terrain at an altitude of 20 km, then it's good. If you don't, then such aircraft are of little use," said the Defense Express CEO.
He states that Russian Su-34 and Su-35 aircraft can also reach an altitude of 20 kilometers, rendering the question of altitude irrelevant in this context.
"The question is what equipment will be used on this M-55. In the Defense Express article, we wrote that there were containers of radio intelligence that were used in the 2021 exercises for use on Su-34 and Su-35 aircraft. Perhaps we are not quite right here, and these aircraft are rather being used to test some new intelligence containers, which can then be used on regular Russian air force aircraft. We can fight them, as usual, with air defense systems, as well as with aircraft that will appear in the future," summarized Serhiy Zgurets.
- On November 5, a photo was released to the public, showing that the Russians had decommissioned and resumed flights of the rare M-55 Geofizika high-altitude aircraft, which operates from the Ramenskoye airfield near Moscow.
- On November 19, British intelligence said that Russia is considering returning Soviet-era M-55 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft to service in order to use them in the war with Ukraine.