The publication draws attention to the fact that during the last attack, Moscow used a fairly large number of such missiles, and Ukrainian air defense did not shoot down any of them.
Russia launched the heaviest shelling of Ukraine in weeks , launching several waves of rockets and kamikaze drones. The strikes were again aimed at the energy infrastructure. They caused power outages and civilian deaths in several locations across the country.
On the one hand, this was nothing new, since Russia has been staging similar strikes for several months now. But the type of missiles it used this time, and Ukraine’s mixed success in destroying them, have renewed calls for better air defense systems.
If Russia can deploy a large number of its new supersonic missiles, the whole game could change ,” writes Forbes .
The publication notes that Moscow in its shelling of Ukraine began to use a wild mixture of different types of ammunition. It seems that she is using everything that she has. In particular, the use of S-300 missiles for strikes against Ukraineseems like a desperate move. These weapons are designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles and other air systems. Its ability to strike at ground targets is of secondary importance. Typically, missiles launched from the C-300 are guided by ground-based radars. But they cannot detect targets on the ground from a distance. Therefore, the Russians rely on inertia, which means that their launches cannot count on high accuracy. The S-300 missiles carry only a 150-kilogram warhead, which is three times smaller than that of the Kh-101. Therefore, the damage from the explosion is relatively small.
Ukraine has begun to actively strike at targets in the occupied territories or in Russia itself with the help of long-range drones. Therefore, Moscow needs all available air defense systems to counter these efforts. “What does air defense do?” – this question became a meme after Ukrainian drones attacked the Russian naval base in Sevastopol. Given that Ukraine has begun using an increasing number of powerful drones, Russia’s decision to use S-300 missiles to destroy ground targets suggests that the Russian command is still focused on offensive operations.
But the biggest surprise and cause of great concern in Ukraine during the latest shelling was the use of six supersonic “Daggers” at once. During the entire period of a full-scale invasion, only a few cases of launching these missiles were recorded. One of them fell on Russian territory in September.
The Kinzhal is one of the most touted Russian developments, designed to bypass US missile defense capabilities. These supersonic missiles are not necessarily faster than traditional ballistic missiles. But if ballistic missiles move along the intended trajectory, supersonic missiles are able to maneuver while they are in the atmosphere. This means that ballistic missiles can be easily detected at long range and intercepted. But hypersonic missiles remain at a lower altitude and do not move along the expected trajectory.
How powerful are the Russian “Daggers”? This is still a topic of controversy. Critics say it is a hastily assembled, modified version of the Iskander ballistic missile. It is more of a “quasi-ballistic” rather than a fully maneuverable hypersonic weapon, as Russia says. Other Russian developments, the Zircon anti-ship missiles and the Avangard guided missiles, are truly supersonic. But it will take several years before their development is fully completed.
In December, the US promised to transfer one Patriot battery to Ukraine . The Ukrainian military completed a crash course on these systems at the end of February. However, it is not known when the new air defense system in the Ukrainian arsenal will work.
One Patriot battery cannot shut down the whole of Ukraine. And the latest Russian attack was directed against facilities across the country. If Kyiv is defended, Russia will most likely bombard other regions. Russian officials claim that the Kinzhal missiles are capable of penetrating any missile defense system. However, they tend to over-praise their weapons, even if they don’t exist yet. Can the Patriot intercept the Daggers? This question is still unanswered.
The fact that Russia used such a large number of these missiles during the latest attack may mean that it now has a significant stockpile of such weapons to start using them more intensively. Or it could be a sign that Russia has run out of other missiles. In January, there were reports that she had already used about 80% of her Calibers.
The publication also notes that spring has begun. And the idea of freezing Ukraine into submission no longer seems like an attractive strategy. Some Russian missiles are likely to reach their target. But in the competition of long-range strikes, Ukraine also has strong cards.