Espreso. Global
Review

There is speculation that downing of Russian planes is work of so-called roving Patriot SAM. Column by Serhiy Zgurets

16 January, 2024 Tuesday
11:40

Shooting down the Russian A-50 and hitting the IL-22 is extremely important given the cascading effect from losing aircraft on Russia's combat capability. This is incredible and unprecedented for combat operations

client/title.list_title

Downing of Russian aircraft over the Sea of Azov

The top news is that the Ukrainian Air Force destroyed an A-50U long-range radar detection aircraft and critically damaged an Il-22M air control center of the Russian occupation forces. This was officially announced by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, as well as the Air Force Commander.

It happened on January 14, around 9 p.m. over the Sea of Azov. This was a well-thought-out and complex operation, as Ukraine's Armed Forces shot down a long-range radar detection aircraft for the first time in the history of combat operations. They try to keep such aircraft as far away from the front line as possible, they do not enter the enemy's air defense system. They are even being covered by their own fighters.

What happened is incredible and unprecedented for combat operations. Although this is something Ukrainian Armed Forces traditionally do. Let me remind you how it was with the destruction of the Black Sea Fleet flagship, the cruiser Moskva, by Ukrainian Neptune missile and the destruction of the Russian submarine Rostov-na-Donu by a Storm Shadow cruise missile in Sevastopol.

Shooting down Russia's A-50 and hitting the IL-22 is extremely important, given the cascading effect from losing these aircraft on Russia's combat capability. Why is this so? The A-50s have the ability to detect Ukrainian aircraft, cruise missiles, and drones at a fairly long range. They can also detect the basing of Ukrainian air defense systems and radars when the radars are active. And there was a time when three such aircraft were on constant duty near Ukraine's borders. One of them operated in Belarus, then the second from the Sea of Azov and the third from somewhere in Kursk, Russia. These three aircraft could actually control Ukraine's entire airspace.

The loss of such a machine for Russia is very serious, because its army, until yesterday, had only 9 such aircraft in service. Three of these were  A-50s in old versions and six modernized A-50Us. As for the estimated cost of the modernized aircraft, everyone is currently talking about $330 million, but this is a floating figure. In my opinion, the price does not matter, because Russia has critically few of them, and it is extremely difficult to restore them.

Last year, another such A-50U suffered damage to its locator after a drone attack in Machulishchi, Belarus (an air force and air defense base of the Republic of Belarus). Russia then took these rare aircraft from there to Russian territory. But the downed A-50U also means the loss of a trained crew, because each aircraft has five crew members and eleven operators, all of whom are highly experienced. And Russia had no more than a hundred such trained operators for all the aircraft.

The same applies to the destruction of the Il-22 command post. Russia had up to ten of them. By the way, the Ukrainian Air Force has already destroyed such aircraft. In April 2022 was the first case. Then an Il-22 was destroyed by the Wagner mercenaries during the Wagner PMC mutiny last June. This is now the third Il-22M to be critically damaged. It landed in Anapa with significant keel damage. In the radio intercept, it was heard that ambulances had to be prepared. 

The Air Force Command said that it would be difficult to restore the plane. At the same time, it is not announced what attacked these aircraft. There are assumptions that it was the work of a so-called roving Patriot SAM. There have been cases where Russian aircraft were destroyed at a considerable distance and in an unexpected place, as was the case in December in the Kherson region.

The Patriot system can use GEM-T missiles, which are designed to fight aeroballistic targets such as airplanes. These missiles, with a range of 160 kilometers, do have a warhead designed to destroy aircraft and cruise missiles. This means that this system was used from the frontline zone, which is a rather risky step. And we can see that the operation was quite successful. Although other versions are possible, let this unpredictability be another additional strength of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Russia cannot predict what exactly was used against these aircraft.

We understand that the loss of these unique machines in terms of functionality and number in Russia's arsenal means more than significant losses for the Russian Federation and the emergence of a significant gap in its air defense system. We look forward to a good continuation of this story.



 
Tags:
Read also:
  • News
2024, Monday
24 June
10:44
Russia relocates Tu-95MS bombers at Engels airfield every five hours fearing Ukraine’s attacks
10:25
Ukrainian forces deny Russia seizing Novooleksandrivka in Pokrovsk direction
10:03
Russia places military facilities near civilian areas in Crimea: ISW explains why
09:35
Russia loses 12 tanks, 51 artillery systems and 1,300 soldiers in one day of war in Ukraine
2024, Sunday
23 June
21:23
Interview
Main task of next NATO Secretary General is to expand Alliance - Polish politician
20:59
India imports record amount of oil from Russia in May – media
20:40
Russia responds to Ukrainian strike on Crimea
19:59
Russian troops intensify advances in Kupyansk and Pokrovsk directions - Ukraine's General Staff
19:46
US support allows Ukraine to strike into Russian territory, disrupting Kharkiv offensive - media
18:59
Exclusive
Ukrainian general assesses chance of Defense Forces' counteroffensive
18:25
Updated
Ukrainian forces strike Russian motorized rifle regiment’s command post: video
17:35
South Korea to lift any restrictions on aid to Ukraine if Russia provides precision weapons to North Korea
16:31
Explosions rock Sevastopol: Russia claims downing 4 ATACMS missiles, 2 dead
15:50
Vietnam calls U.S. strategic partner after Putin's visit
15:05
Work or go home: German opposition urges deportation for unemployed Ukrainian refugees
14:30
Intensification of Russian attacks in Donetsk region may indicate start of summer offensive – ISW
14:03
Partisans in Russia burn relay box on Rostov-on-Don to Mariupol railway
13:32
OPINION
EU membership negotiations: Choice between two evils
12:50
Ukraine’s intelligence reports increase in Russian servicemen surrendering through I Want to Live Project
12:21
Russian troops attack Kyiv region with missiles, injuring civilians
11:50
Exclusive
Why Russia uses Sea of Azov to launch Kalibr missiles – military insight
10:59
Russian army loses 15 tanks, 61 artillery systems and over 1,200 soldiers in one day of war in Ukraine
10:33
Updated
Russia attacks Kharkiv with guided bombs four times, causing casualties
2024, Saturday
22 June
20:01
US closes Russian visa centres in Washington, New York
19:40
Russia drops about 100 guided bombs on Ukrainian positions, frontline areas daily
19:09
Exclusive
China will be very unlucky if Trump comes to power - politician Feygin
18:47
OPINION
Is Zelenskyy's Peace Formula being replaced by Erdogan-Guterres Formula?
18:25
Exclusive
Putin aims to destabilize Europe, paralyze NATO after destroying Ukraine - former Polish defense minister
18:04
Hungary doesn't block sanctions against Russia in exchange for Paks-2 construction
17:25
Ukrainian military destroy Russian equipment in Vovchansk sector
17:05
Launch of Oniks missile from Bastion coastal missile system
US bans Ukraine from firing its weapons deeper than 100 km into Russia
16:46
Russia tries to withdraw some units from near Vovchansk - Khortytsia troops grouping
16:27
OPINION
China's peace is connivance with aggressor
16:05
Exclusive
Polish Patriot can't be transferred to Ukraine: former defense minister explains why
15:46
Russian forces launch Kalibr missiles from Sea of Azov for first time
15:27
Exclusive
Putin's involvement of North Korean forces in war against Ukraine is adventurous idea - politician
15:06
Barbados, Marshall Islands join final communiqué of Peace Summit
14:48
EU to sign security agreement with Ukraine next week - media
14:27
OPINION
Ukraine starts negotiations with EU
14:04
Review
Explosions at Russian refineries, possible Ukraine-South Korea cooperation, situation near Borova. Serhiy Zgurets' column
More news