Vladimir Putin’s iconic “Doomsday” plane has reportedly been infiltrated and robbed. In a major security breach, the aircraft designed for the Russian leader to use in a nuclear war was targeted by unidentified thieves. Some 39 pieces of radio equipment were stolen after a cargo hatch was opened.
The equipment contained precious metals gold and platinum which is seen as a possible motive for the theft. The embarrassing heist came when the Ilyushin Il-80 Maxdome was undergoing a refit in Russian city Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov. A Russian transport police source was quoted by Interfax as saying: “Beriev Aircraft Company reported that a cargo hatch breach was discovered during an inspection of one of the aircraft.”
Police have found finger and shoe prints at the scene, it was reported. The windowless Il-80 is one of four so-called Doomsday planes designed to act as a Kremlin in the sky in the event of a nuclear attack.
Putin would be able to rule Russia and issue commands to his military from the airborne command post. This includes the ability to order a nuclear strike. The US equivalent is the Boeing E-4B planes based on the 747 airliners. Russia had earlier announced it was replacing the Il-80 with a plane based on the upgraded Il-96-400M wide-body airliner. Despite this, a refit was underway of the Il-80. Russian has previously showcased the aircraft at Red Square military displays.