The Ilyushin II-80, nicknamed the “Doomsday” aircraft, is a Russian-built aircraft with emergency strategic equipment designed to protect Putin from nuclear attack. The aircraft has some very distinctive features, including a windowless fuselage and an exaggerated radar detection dome on the cockpit roof. This is supposed to prevent exposure to electromagnetic pulses (EMP).
But other aspects of the craft’s technology have remained top secret.
Russian officials have confirmed that the plane will be displayed during the parade in Moscow’s Red Square, organized to celebrate the fall of Adolf Hitler and the end of World War II.
James Nixey, director of the Russia-Eurasia program at Chatham House, told CNN the celebration is “designed to show off to the local crowd, to intimidate the opposition and please the dictator of the day.”
And the ‘Doomsday’ plane was also recently spotted at the rehearsal parade.
It will be joined by eight Mig-29 fighter jets which will fly over Red Square to form the letter Z, a symbol of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia is also ready to display its terrifying nuclear-capable missiles, including the Yars intercontinental nuclear missiles and the Iskander short-range ballistic missile systems.
The Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear” and the Tu-160 “White Swan” will also fly over Red Square.
And Russia’s latest fifth-generation fighter jet, the Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet, will be joined by the Tu-22 supersonic bomber, dubbed the “Blinder” by NATO forces.
Some analysts have suggested the display of the “Doomsday” plane is part of a message Putin wants to send to the West as fears of nuclear war escalate.
Russia has made repeated nuclear threats over the past two months, with Putin putting its nuclear forces on “high alert”.
READ MORE: How the UK, US and their allies could respond to a nuclear attack
“If things are still so bad on May 9, which they are likely to be, Putin might decide that a nuclear bomb is the only way to change the shape of war.”
But Putin is not the only world leader who can avoid a nuclear attack.
US President Joe Biden also has his own version of the ‘Doomsday’ plane, which was spotted circling the skies of Southern California last week
Similar to Putin’s plane, the E-4B Nightwatch aircraft can be used in the event of a national emergency or the destruction of ground command and control centers to protect Mr. Biden.