Russia’s main security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), may have deployed a unique spy airplane at Syria’s Hmeimim Air Base.
On February 28, Obretix, a military observer, shared on Twitter a satellite image showing what appears to be a Diamond DA42 Twin Star airplane at the Russian air base.
The DA42 is a four seat, twin engine, propeller-driven airplane developed and manufactured by Austria’s Diamond Aircraft Industries.
Diamond DA42T in Hmeymim? strange visitor at the Russian air base in Latakia on 26 Feb 2021, besides the usual mix of Su-24/34/35 jets a few MiG-29 an An-72 and a Tu-154 https://t.co/K1GHJrj0Md pic.twitter.com/axRHqFYN60
— Samir (@obretix) February 28, 2021
The airplane is not only in service with the Russian military, but also with the FSB. In May 2016, the agency ordered two DA42M-NGs, a variant fit with Austro Engine AE 300 engines, from Diamond Aircraft Industries.
The FSB’s DA42M-NGs, which were assembled at the JSC Ural Plant of Civil Aviation in Russia’s Yekaterinburg, were reportedly fitted with reconnaissance equipment.
The DA42 possesses considerable endurance, being capable of performing 13 hour-long flights. It also has a service ceiling of over 5 km. This makes the airplane suitable for intelligence gathering missions.
The FSB has been active in Syria since the very beginning of the Russian anti-terrorism operation in the country more than five years ago. The agency may have deployed one of its DA42M-NG spy airplanes at Hmeimim Air Base to hunt down wanted terrorists in the war-torn country.
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