Normally we like hearing about old military gear going on the surplus market. But if you encounter some late-model Russian radio and crypto equipment for sale you might want to make sure it isn’t hot (English translation). If you prefer not picking through the machine translation to English, the BBC also has a good write-up.
The Russians maintain four large planes set up as flying command and control bunkers in case of nuclear war — so-called “doomsday planes.” Like the U.S. ABNBC (better known as Looking Glass) fleet, the planes can provide the President or other senior leaders a complete command capability while in flight. As you might expect, the radios and gear on the plane are highly classified.
According to reports, the plane was in for maintenance and upgrades at the Tanganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex (TANTK). An inspection at the end of November noted nothing unusual, but sometime after that, unknown thieves opened a side compartment and made off with 39 radio units and boards from some radios that were already removed from the plane.
There appears to be a lot of physical evidence left behind and a technician reported a suspicious man at the airfield claiming to be a radio operator. We are glad we aren’t one of the 12 people responsible for guarding the super-secret aircraft.
We doubt these radios will really wind up on the surplus market, but it does make you wonder if buying a mystery box at the next hamfest with some Cyrillic lettering on it could turn your life into a Jason Bourne movie.
No one wants a nuclear war. The effects of the few explosions that have already occurred made lasting changes to our Earth. We like to think these flying command posts on both sides are relics of the cold war and will never see actual duty.