About the Features of Our Air Defence, in Particular, in Relation to HIMARS

NEW – August 26, 2022

We find technological solutions that allow to get out of any difficult situation

The Russian air defence system is effective not only against aircraft and drones, but also against multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS). According to the majority of MLRS in service with Ukraine, our air defence works with a 100% success rate.

But here it is necessary to explain that there is a military air defence, and there is an object air defence – these are different systems that work on different tasks. The former covers troops on the battlefield, while the latter protects stationary military and civilian facilities.

The main weapon of military air defence is a modification of the “S-300V” system, now – “S-300V4”. Also included in the army’s air defence system are the “Buk-M2” and “Buk-M3” air defence systems (by the way, the UAF only has the “Buk-M1”). “Buk-M3” is completely digital. And, of course, the Tor-M2 is an all-weather anti-aircraft missile system.

Object-based air defence is, first of all, the “S-300P” and “S-400” complexes. The first one usually comes in the “S-300PM2” modification. And the “S-400” is a more modern system, but it is made in such a way that it is difficult to distinguish it from the “S-300” outwardly. At least to a layperson. This is done to disorient the enemy when they use surveillance equipment such as drones from a distance of two to three kilometres. And the difference between the combat characteristics of the systems is very noticeable. The “S-300” has a maximum range of 250 kilometres, while the “S-400” has a maximum range of 400 kilometres! All the systems that I have mentioned to you are robot systems.

What is such a robotic system? On board it has a computer with special programs, which is very helpful during combat work, given the intensity of modern combat, which, in fact, can take, given some recent data on the shooting of HIMARS, 10 seconds! This much time is allocated for detecting, capturing and launching to destroy the target. And if the enemy attacked not with one missile, but with a group? A person simply does not have time to react, so computers are indispensable in such situations.

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Let’s analyse the case of the shelling of the Antonov Bridge near Kherson by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Back then, on the first day, several missiles hit the target. Moreover, Ukraine here used the old Israeli tactics of the Arab-Israeli conflicts of the early 1970s and the more recent experience of Israel in the confrontation with Lebanon. The Israelis then hung angle reflectors on the drones, and such drones on the radar screens of the air defence calculations looked like fully-fledged aircraft in size. The air defence division, of course, fired at these drones, shooting all the ammunition. It is necessary to reload, and at that moment attack aircraft are already flying and freely hit the objects designated by the Israelis.

By the way, the same story happened in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has collected a lot of AN-2 “corn crop duster”. Many people then laughed at the strange Azerbaijani love for these biplanes. And the Azerbaijanis did this: they put a remote control system in each vehicle and planted explosives – they turned out to be a kamikaze drone. If it is not shot down, it hits some target on the ground, besides destroying everything in the area. Therefore, it is necessary to shoot it down. And these “crop dusters” were launched by the Azerbaijanis in dozens. The Armenians shot them down, but it all ended with the fact that there were almost no missiles left. It was then that the “Bayraktars” of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces were launched. And there’s nothing to shoot at them with…

In Kherson, the UAF worked using approximately the same scheme. First came “Smerch”, powerful Soviet-designed missiles with a range of up to 70 kilometres. They were followed by HIMARS. MLRS HIMARS is an armoured container on a wheeled chassis. A five-ton truck takes six missiles. Firing range – up to 110 kilometres. At the apogee, they reach a height of 22 kilometres. Up to this value, they fly along a ballistic trajectory, and then begin to be controlled by commands – through the GPS system, for example, to accurately hit the target. The accuracy is high, only 7-10 meters of error.

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Thus, on the Antonov Bridge on the first day, several missiles hit. On the second day – not a single missile, all were shot down. On the third day, the missiles hit again. Moreover, HIMARS damaged only the roadbed, and the supports were not damaged. By the way, that’s why we don’t use missiles on bridges much either. A damaged roadway can be repaired in a week, and it is very difficult to get into the support. We can only do this if a drone or our special forces laser illuminates the support, but this is difficult to do in the rear of the Ukrainian troops.

It is clear that HIMARS show high accuracy due to the use of GPS. But the question arises: how was it managed to shoot everything down on the second day? For example, I have a feeling that a modern system has been tested that has worked 100%. And then it was taken away, for example, to protect Sevastopol, where, conditionally, it could have been located before. So on the third day, we didn’t have the same results.

In general, it is possible to fight MLRS HIMARS, and our air defence system does it. Russian systems have for a long time and successfully destroyed the missiles of the Ukrainian MLRS “Uragan” and “Smerch”, which do not differ too much from the characteristics of American missiles in terms of tactical and technical characteristics.

Thus, a layered system of defence of the liberated territories is being built. The “S-300PM2” and “S-300V4” systems operate on the far approaches, while the “Tor-M2”, “Buk-M2”, “Buk-M3” (which works very effectively on HIMARS systems) and “Pantsir-S” systems protect the near borders.

“Pantsir” has proven itself well in both Syria and Ukraine. The main advantage of this anti-aircraft missile and gun system is the low cost and ease of execution of the missile. It is no coincidence that the “Pantsir” missile is called a flying crowbar.

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Now a decision has been made to finalise the “Pantsir” air defence system. The updated system will look similar to its predecessor: a multifunctional station, 12 missiles, as it was, and two guns, two anti-aircraft guns of 30 millimetres each. But the station is completely new with target detection at a range of 70 kilometres and the ability to chase up to four targets simultaneously. This adds a very high accuracy in determining the coordinates of the attack object. Updated “Pantsir” will also work on HIMARS.

Unlike “Pantsir” missiles, the HIMARS missile is very expensive. A salvo of six missiles costs almost a million dollars. 12 missiles were fired at the Antonov Bridge, that is, almost two million “flew away”, and as a result – only minor damage. But this damage is clearly not worth two million dollars, so their costs are disproportionately high.

But still, long-range weapons require our immediate response. Here the Americans once developed an interesting system, which they tested a couple of years ago at the Yuma proving ground in Arizona. What did they do? They took mock-ups of our “Pantsir” and T-72 tanks and launched a satellite, the data of which was transmitted from the space communication node to two weapons of destruction – a helicopter-drone and an M109 Paladin howitzer. What is the novelty of this system? Previously, in a normal system, everything looked like this: satellite, communications centre, headquarters. The headquarters made a decision, gave a command – everything took about 20 minutes. And now it is done in 20 seconds with the help of artificial intelligence technology.

This is applied now in Ukraine as well. After all, representatives of Kiev have repeatedly stated that they receive information from the Americans and the British online. That is, what has been worked on at the Yuma test site is sold directly in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, we find technological solutions that allow us to get out of any difficult situation. And the same tasks that Americans solve with the help of super-technologies, we solve much easier and more affordable means. This is our strength.

Yury Knutov

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