Ukrainian Yak-52 Equipped With Machine Gun Shoots Down Russian UAV – Reports

Yak 52 Russian drone
A screenshot from a video shared on Telegram showing the Yak-52 circling close to the Russian drone.

In an engagement reminiscent of WWII dogfights, a Ukrainian training aircraft reportedly shot down a Russian drone.

On Apr. 27, 2024, a Ukrainian Yak-52 training aircraft, shot down a Russian Orlan-10 drone over Odessa, according to several reports by the Ukrainian media.

Some videos shared on Telegram and X show the Yak-52 circling around the drone descending towards the ground on a parachute, which most likely automatically deployed.

How the Yak-52 shot down the drone is not clear.

According to some sources, the Ukrainian trainers have not been retrofitted with wing or fuselage-mounted machine guns due to the extensive and technically challenging modifications required to integrate such weaponry into the airframe.

The Ukrainian Militarnyi website reported that, although the Yak-52B variant retains the capability to carry GUV-8700 pods with machine guns or UB-32 pods with unguided rockets this configuration was produced only in one example. Therefore, the Russian drone was probably shot down by the second crew member, using a gun or automatic weapon.

The Yak-52

The Yakovlev Yak-52 is a Soviet-era primary trainer aircraft that was widely used for military pilot training. It was designed by Yakovlev Design Bureau and first flew in 1976. The Yak-52 is a two-seat, single-engine, all-metal monoplane with a low-wing configuration.

One of the distinctive features of the Yak-52 is its aerobatic capability but it is also known for its robust airframe, making it popular among aerobatics enthusiasts and airshow performers.

The Yak-52 is powered by a single Vedeneyev M-14P radial engine, providing sufficient power for aerobatic maneuvers and training flights. The aircraft has a tandem seating arrangement, with the student pilot sitting in the front and the instructor pilot in the rear. This configuration allows for effective training and communication between the pilot and instructor during flight.

In addition to its training role, the Yak-52 has also been used for light ground attack missions. Some variants were equipped with underwing hardpoints to carry machine gun pods or unguided rockets for ground attack missions.

The aircraft’s slow stall speed makes it perfect for SMI (Slow Movers Intercept) mission like the one reportedly carried out over Ukraine on Apr. 27, 2024.

The Orlan-10 UAV

The Orlan-10 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by the Russian company Special Technology Center LLC (STC Orlan). It is designed primarily for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions. T

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.