“Plane of the apocalypse”: what is this “flying bunker” that will fly over the Russian military parade?

This Monday, May 9, the Russian army will parade like every year in Moscow to commemorate the victory against Nazi Germany in 1945. For Vladimir Putin, it is an opportunity to show off his “apocalypse plane”, the one of the jewels of its military arsenal.

As its name suggests, this device is intended to transport the Russian president to a safe place in the event of a nuclear attack. The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that it will fly over Moscow’s Red Square on Monday.

Built from the Soviet Ilyouchine II-80 model, used in civilian life, this veritable “flying bunker” can withstand the electromagnetic pulses produced during a nuclear explosion.

59 meters long and 208 tons heavy, it has special armor and has no porthole. Its bumpy nose “encloses satellite communication equipment and radio links”, details the specialized site Futura Sciences.

Flying Kremlin

The plane does not carry any armament, but is surrounded by two, sometimes three Russian fighter planes, MIG-29s, when it flies.

Also nicknamed the “Flying Kremlin”, the device will make its first public appearance on Monday since 2010.

While Russia has repeatedly brandished the nuclear threat, the appearance of this “apocalypse plane” during the military parade on May 9 will be a new warning sent to Westerners.

Russia is not the only country with such equipment. In the United States, it is the Boeing E-4B NOAC which is responsible for welcoming the American president in the event of nuclear war. It was nicknamed “Doomsday Plane”, the plane of the Last Judgment.

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