MiG-31 Foxhounds Confirmed Destroyed In New Imagery Of Belbek Air Base

The War Zone has obtained additional high-resolution satellite images of Russia’s Belbek Air Base on the occupied Crimean Peninsula that offer a better view of the destruction there from recent Ukrainian strikes. It also proves out our initial analysis based on other imagery, which readers can find here.

The new images, which come from Maxar Technologies and were taken earlier today, clearly show the burned-out hulks of two MiG-31 Foxhound interceptors on a damaged apron at Belbek. The charred remains of what now clearly looks to have been an adjacent fuel farm, as well as damage to a small nearby structure, are also visible. Additional scorching can be seen on the apron and adjacent access roads.

One of the two destroyed MiG-31s at Russia’s Belbek Air Base on the occupied Crimean Peninsula that is visible in the new imagery from Maxar. The second jet can be seen in the wide view at the top of this story. Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies.
The destroyed fuel depot at Belbek, as well as a small adjacent structure that was also damaged, can be seen here. Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies.

The new imagery from Maxar of the aircraft parking areas further to the west shows a destroyed MiG-29 Fulcrum-series fighter. This could very well be one of the many unflyable MiG-29s that were left at the base for years that Russia use as decoys, or it could be one of the few MiG-29s still in service with Russian forces, although this is less likely.

An Su-27 Flanker-series fighter, a number of which call the installation home, parked further west may be damaged to some degree, as well, although we cannot say that for certain based on the imagery. Something looks to have been totally destroyed in an adjacent revetment, but it is unclear what this was.

The Flanker variant that looks to be at least damaged, as well as something that might be completely destroyed in the parking spot right next to it. Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies.

Altogether, the high-resolution images provide a clearer picture of the damage Ukraine inflicted earlier this week on Belbek, including the destruction of two MiG-31s Foxhounds. The MiGs, together with the very long-range air-to-air missiles they carry, have been a particular threat to the Ukrainian Air Force.

A full view of Belbek Air Base as of May 16, 2024. Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies.

We already knew that the Russians had lost elements of an S-300 or S-400 air defense system in the Ukrainian strikes on Belbek, including what looked to be a 92N6 ‘Grave Stone’ radar. However, none of this looks to be readily visible in the imagery we now have from Maxar.

As The War Zone also previously noted, the strikes on Belbek this week look to have been the work, at least in part, of longer-range U.S.-supplied Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) ballistic missiles that were only delivered in secret to Ukrainian forces earlier this year. The Russian airbase on Crimea, which is particularly well positioned to help to provide air defense for the naval base just to the south in Sevastopol, had been out of reach of older, shorter-range ATACMSs that Ukraine had gotten previously.

With the apparent success of the strikes on Belbek this week, it would not be surprising for Ukrainian forces to continue targeting the base, including with ATACMS.

Contact the author: joe@twz.com

Joseph Trevithick Avatar

Joseph Trevithick

Deputy Editor

Joseph has been a member of The War Zone team since early 2017. Prior to that, he was an Associate Editor at War Is Boring, and his byline has appeared in other publications, including Small Arms Review, Small Arms Defense Journal, Reuters, We Are the Mighty, and Task & Purpose.