Huge Ukrainian Drone Crashes in Zagreb, Croatia

Only Ukraine still uses these heavy Soviet-era reconnaissance drones

Weighs 6 tons

In what can only be deemed a totally bizarre event, Croatia’s capital of Zagreb was awakened to a loud blast just hours ago only to find a large crater filled with what appeared to be aircraft parts. Some said it was a plane that crashed and that parachutes were seen nearby, others said it was a missile.

After close examination of the visual evidence, The War Zone strongly believes this was actually a Tu-141 “Strizh” reconnaissance drone that must have severely malfunctioned and crossed over the entirety of Hungary or parts of neighboring countries and into Croatia from Ukraine.

Flying direct from Ukraine’s border to Zagreb is nearly a 350-mile journey. It has been reported that Ukraine has been putting the high-speed, Soviet-era drones to work in recent days following Russia’s invasion of the country. Ukraine is the only known current operator of the Tu-141.

We were first alerted to the mysterious crash by @Darkstar_OSINT who quickly briefed us on the strange situation and the claims surrounding it. Upon inspecting the wreckage and considering the odd and somewhat conflicting reports, as well as the biggest news story of the year occurring in the region, we concluded only one aircraft really fit the bill—the Tu-141.

It just so happens one of the wings was left largely intact, allowing us to verify our hunch. Still, the fact that this drone flew so far off course is both puzzling and alarming. But it would not be the first loss of the Tu-141 of the war. Another went down in Ukraine just days ago.

The Tu-141 is a fascinating piece of Soviet-era hardware that Ukraine has upgraded and made useful following the invasion of Crimea in 2014. More of a cruise missile than a traditional drone, the aircraft is rocket-launched from its trailer and flies a predetermined course at transonic speed, collecting various forms of intelligence, before recovering via parachute. It can then be reset and used again.

The Tu-141’s roots go back to its predecessor, the Tu-123, which first flew in 1960, but the Strizh is far from youthful, having first been introduced into service by the Soviet Union in the late 1970s. With a range of about 650 miles, the Tu-141 can take on some of the missions that a manned tactical reconnaissance jet can, but without the risk of losing the crew. Ukraine has also used the type as a target drone recently and it could also act as a decoy during combat, although this particular Tu-141 was heading in completely the wrong direction for such a mission.

It’s also possible that Russia has pulled some of these out of storage to act as crude decoys in a ploy to stimulate Ukraine’s air defenses, but we have no proof of this at this time. This crashed example would have been beyond its stated range from the Russian border, although it could have reached Zagreb if it was launched from Belarus.

I don’t think the folks in Croatia realize exactly what landed in their town just yet. It will be interesting to hear what Ukraine says about this. [They denied it.] Also, it does raise some serious air defense readiness questions for the NATO countries that the Tu-141 flew over, if indeed that was the case. [Yes it was. Hungary confirmed the drone spent 40 minutes in their airspace having crossed from Romania.] And as always, new information can emerge and details can change, but based on the information currently available, it seems very likely that the mysterious craft involved in this incident was indeed the Tu-141.

Source: The Drive

Croatian media:

Should the aircraft have landed on the Ukrainian Yarun instead of the Zagreb Jarun?

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  1. Hostage (Raptar) Driver says

    Interesting connection.
    A large percentage of Ukrainians are self hating Russians.
    A large percentage of Croatians are self hating Serbs.
    What’s wrong with our Slavic people that they can be so easily turned against their brothers?

    1. jim says

      Same way the angloz do it. Works every time.

  2. Eric says

    Would have been even funnier if it had americans bioweapins in it when it crashed. They would definitely blame the Russians.

  3. ken says

    I see the terrorists in blue look the same everywhere.

  4. Steve Ginn says

    The Ukrops will try to blame Russia for this, like they did after they shot down the Malaysian airliner!

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