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What do the S-400 air defense missile strikes on Kyiv show and how to stand against it?

What do the S-400 air defense missile strikes on Kyiv show and how to stand against it?

On the morning of January 14, the russians attacked Kyiv from the north with anti-aircraft guided missiles of the russian S-400 air defense complex. The final data from where such launches were carried out haven’t been made public, however, analysts of the monitoring group «Belarusian Gayun» believe that the launch area of 48N6DM missiles from the S-400 was the bryansk region of the russian federation.

Also, experts don’t rule out shelling from the Belarusian airfield «Zyabrovka», located near Gomel, 20 km from the border with Ukraine. It is this airfield in Belarus that has already officially appeared as the S-300 launch area for strikes on ground objects in the Chernihiv region.

The preliminary analysis of the photo of the wreckage of the found missile indicates that it is a 48Н6DM type missile, which most likely was used by russia for the second time in the shelling of Kyiv, because similar wreckage was seen in the affected area of a private house in Protasiv Yar, as well as in the destroyed Alfavito hotel near the palace «Ukraine» after rocket attacks on the capital on December 31.

❗️The 48N6DM missile has a range of up to 250 km against air and ground targets, and the weight of the warhead is 180 kg. It is also necessary to take into account the enormous maximum speed of the 48N6DM rocket – 2.5 km/s, from launch from the ground to hitting a distance of about 200 km, only a few minutes pass. In addition, the 48H6DM is equipped with a «contact detonator» that reacts to passing by an air target. In the event of an impact on a ground target, it can be activated even at a low height or during contact with the surface, which allows, in the event of a hit to a residential building, to easily penetrate the walls or roof and cause significant destruction, and in the event of detonation at a low height, to hit the civilian population with debris .

Also, even at relatively short distances, firing from 48H6DM shows low accuracy, as a result of which they often miss the intended targets. The guidance mechanism of the 48N6DM missile in the «ground-to-ground» mode requires direct radar visibility between the radar and the missile for accuracy of the strike. At a launch range of 230 km, missile control is lost at an altitude of approximately 3 km, and then the missile simply falls near the target.

The insidiousness of the russians’ use of the 48N6DM lies in the fact that it is difficult for the Ukrainian air defense and anti-missile forces to detect the launch of such a missile in time and identify it as a strike on ground targets, not on air ones. Under such conditions, it is not always possible to warn the population in time about a missile threat, as was confirmed by the latest shelling, when the air warning system in the capital did not have time to work.

According to the spokesman of the Air Force Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Yuriy Ignat, the use of S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles against ground targets in Ukraine is due to the gradual depletion of Iskander-type cruise and ballistic missiles in russia.

❓ What is possible to do in this situation?

It should be noted that the use of 48Н6DM anti-aircraft missiles for ground strikes involves their launch along a ballistic trajectory, as a result of which their interception requires anti-missile defense systems such as the Patriot PAC3 with MSE kinetic interceptors or the French-Italian SAMP-T, which are currently absent in arms of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The transfer of the former to Ukraine has already been announced by the USA and Germany, and negotiations with Italy are still ongoing regarding the latter. The immediate supply of such weapons to the Ukrainian military will radically change the situation, because the destruction of each unit of such weapons saves dozens or hundreds of civilian lives.

According to military expert O. Musienko, under the best scenario, American Patriot air defense complexes will appear in Ukraine in the spring.

Israel also expressed its readiness to provide Ukraine with appropriate systems for early warning of the population about an attack by ballistic missiles of this type.

❗️There is no doubt that russia will continue to use the entire range of missile weapons available for shelling Ukrainian cities – from obsolete aviation ammunition to newer 48Н6DM S-300 air defense missiles and their newest S-400 counterpart. Russia’s shelling of Ukrainian cities and Kyiv with S-400 missiles has mostly a political rather than a military significance and becomes an element of intimidation and blackmail.

After all, due to the use of 48Н6DM anti-aircraft missiles with an increased number of striking elements at long-range ground targets without the possibility of radar guidance, the civilian population of not only Kyiv, but also Zhytomyr, Rivne, Lutsk and Lviv remains under the threat of similar extremely dangerous indiscriminate strikes. And on the other hand, by using such missiles from the territory of Belarus, the occupiers expect a Ukrainian response to those positions on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, where the S-300 and S-400 missiles are located, in order to draw Belarus into the war on the side of russia.

‼️So far, the only option for protection against russian missiles remains the destruction of the launchers themselves directly at the positions from which the strikes are launched, wherever they are placed – on the territory of Belarus or in russia.

  • 19 January, 2023

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