A Ukrainian Yak-52 trainer aircraft – driven by propellers – could be seen chasing down a Russian Orlan-10 reconnaissance drone over the skies of the Odesa region on Saturday, April 27.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) estimated that each Orlan-10 aircraft costs between $87,000 and $120,000.

Videos of the dogfight aftermath surfaced on local Telegram channels, where the Soviet-era trainer could be seen circling around the Russian drone, which has an orange parachute likely deployed automatically as part of its emergency response. Gunshots could be heard faintly in the background.

Military outlet Militarnyi created a backup of the video.

Later, the local Telegram channel also released a brief video shot from the cockpit, in which Kyiv Post confirmed the plane to be a Yak-52 Soviet-era trainer aircraft based on open-source images.


It’s also believed the trainer aircraft shot down another reconnaissance drone – a Russian ZALA unit – in addition to the Orlan-10 based on Ukraine’s Southern Defense Forces’ report on the same day.

“Two Russian reconnaissance drones were destroyed in the sky over Odeshchyna with the use of light aircraft,” read the Telegram announcement.

However, it’s not immediately clear what weapons were used to bring down the drones. While some sources pointed towards the use of machine guns onboard the Yak-52, the plane has no onboard armament by default, being a trainer aircraft.

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It’s possible machine guns were mounted on the aircraft through makeshift contraptions, but unlikely due to the technical complexities involved, especially on a prop-driven plane; the Yak-52’s tandem configuration could also mean the guns were fired by another crew member onboard, but Kyiv Post is unable to ascertain such a possibility.

The Yak-52 is a Soviet-designed two-seat trainer aircraft produced between 1978 and 1998, with later variants manufactured in Romania under license. The plane was used to train civilian sports pilots and military pilots.


The plane, driven by a nine-cylinder radial engine powering its propeller, is known for its agility and was used in aerobatic flights with a stress rating of +7 and -5 Gs.

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