The west has inadvertantly (a euphemism for ‘clumsily’ [I’m being polite here]) provided for Russia the very best opportunity for their military to receive practical, on-the-job training with weapons they could have only dreamed of (and the west still does) in the past. Many of these weapons are unheard of before. Such is the difference between the technological advancement of one side over the other.
It takes time and lots of observation, planning and tactical adjustments to get the best out the introduction of any new technology. So the gift of such an opportunity, relatively unchallenged, to the extent that this can be seen as a learning process which will stand the Russian forces in good stead for any escalation or extension of this or other conflicts, is a chance not to be missed. And certainly one not to be rushed. The Russians are doing everything right. The west – more used to the ‘bull in a china shop’ kind of operation, finds this very confusing – they have never seen such an event before, and have few clues as to what it all means. They will find out first hand if they presume to intervene or take matters further than they already have.
What you may read below was an opportunistic find for me – simply browsing around various sources. I found this on VZGLYAD (which I am finding to be a very useful site). Click on title ‘Ukraine is honing Russia’s military might’ below, to go to the article on site. I have copied the article in full (a machine translation to English) in case of difficulties with translation.
I was not previously aware of some of these weapons myself, so I suggest that some of this stuff is not yet widely exposed to the non-military world. But it is very interesting.
What I will say next I would have preferred to place at the end of the piece, but if I do that it would possibly be missed. It may not be of interest to everyone but I found it to be so. In the main feature below, you will find a reference to the ‘friend-foe’ principle. This is not a new concept but its development over the years is retold in an intriguing way in the article which is right up to date – ‘How the secret Soviet recognition system “friend or foe” was created’ – TopWar – and which may be of interest to some. The ability to electronically determine the ‘friendliness’ of any electronic military entity in your vicinity – especially if you are a missile within a swarm of hundreds of other missiles with a whole smorgasborg of electronically emitting potential targets within your range, such as ‘enemy’ missiles’, aircraft, ground installations, tanks, etc., even if you are pre-programmed to one particular target beforehand, wouldn’t it be delightful if you could cooperatively work with other friendly missiles also in flight, to determine (with the least wastage), assuming your chosen target had already been dealt with by some other missile, what your next best available target would be, repeatedly if necessary, in much faster than real-time?
While I have no evidence that such capability is current (other than more or less fictional accounts), I would bet my boots that such thinking is more than just at the idea stage of development. We are in a whole new world of warfare. How long that will last is anybody’s guess, but you can be sure that it doesn’t pay to be behind the game. Now, let’s think for a moment. Who do we know is already a decade or two behind the game?
…and now the main feature…
Ukraine is honing Russia’s military might
The special military operation has become a giant testing ground for the latest Russian weapons. Another example of this was the reports about the beginning of the use of Su-57 fighters in Ukraine. What kind of weapon was first used during the special operation and what results did it show?
The Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched missile is well known by its name, but its combat use first occurred during a special operation in Ukraine. The 9-S-7760 missile of this complex hit a large warehouse of missiles and aviation ammunition of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in western Ukraine. To understand: the target was a concrete underground city, which would have taken hundreds of shells and dozens of bombs to destroy. “Dagger” penetrated the buried protection with a single missile and caused a destructive detonation. Neither the carrier (MiG-31 fighter), nor the rocket itself was found-the impact was like lightning. By the way, this is not an isolated case of using the “Dagger” during the SVO.
The Kh – 31PM supersonic tactical air-to – surface guided missile (according to the NATO codification-AS-17 Krypton) was also highly appreciated. The range of its destruction is 60 kilometers, and the fighter may not enter the range of enemy air defense systems. Such missiles, for example, completely disabled an air base in the Vinnytsia region – all eight missiles reached the target, destroying the runway and destroying planes and helicopters on the ground. It is possible that they are used by Su-35S fighters, which successfully conduct air and ground hunting during the SVO.
A number of news agencies also reported on the use of fifth-generation Su-57 fighters in Ukraine. It is noted that these aircraft also operate outside the zone of active destruction by enemy air defense systems, using missile weapons, probably the same as the high-precision X-31PM. It is known that the Su-57 passed the first tests during the fighting in Syria in 2018.
“The combat qualities of aircraft and weapons are best tested in combat conditions, especially if it is something new,” military expert Major General Vladimir Popov told VZGLYAD newspaper. – In Afghanistan, the Su-25 attack aircraft was tested, as a result it was modified, and this aircraft in an improved form is still in service.
The same thing is happening now – the equipment is being tempered in the sky, strengths and weaknesses are being identified, and air tactics are being improved. The result is obvious-complete domination of the sky and the targeted destruction of military infrastructure on the ground.”
Appeared in Ukraine and “Hermes”. Whether the ground-based high-precision guided weapons system with an over-the-horizon firing range of 100 kilometers with this name is still unknown, but the Hermes-A aviation version already exists. Its supersonic missiles with a target range of 20 kilometers, used by Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters, allow the rotorcraft not to enter the range of MANPADS and short-range air defense systems. The enemy’s armored vehicles and strongholds are selected as targets. A salvo launch of 16 missiles at several targets at once allows you to increase the hit rate due to the inability to respond after the first hit. “Hermes-A” replaced the anti-tank missiles “Vortex” and “Attack”.
On earth, too, there were updates. In addition to the T-90M Proryv tanks, a new batch of which was recently transferred to the Ministry of Defense by the manufacturer Uralvagonzavod and was partially sent to the SVO zone, the Terminator has now entered the battlefield. This is a tank support combat vehicle (BMPT), which they wanted to call “Frame-99”, but with the filing of UVZ, it was a foreign name that caught on.
This machine, developed in the 2000s, was not wanted to be put into service in the army for a long time, its “benefit” took place at the Kavkaz-2020 exercises. Then Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov told President Vladimir Putin, who arrived at the Kapustin Yar training ground, about this car. “Terminator” was created about ten years ago, but it was not used. And then the minister and I looked at it and decided to adopt it. There are four Atak ATGMs that can shoot up to six kilometers, and two 30-millimeter cannons. Just the thing,” Gerasimov reported.
The current BMPT “Terminator-2” has the chassis of the T-90 tank-the reservation allows you to withstand the impact of enemy anti-tank weapons. In addition to the mentioned ATGM (with laser guidance system) and rapid-fire cannons, a 7.62 mm machine gun and two AGS-17 grenade launchers were added. The entire complex of weapons creates high-density fire and allows you to attack up to four targets simultaneously. It is assumed that this combat vehicle will be especially effective in urban battles, which are so relevant for the current special operation.
Great interest was aroused by the recent mention by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov of the use of the Zadira laser complex during the SVO. What was its combat use, he did not disclose, only said that the system is capable of hitting drones at a range of five kilometers using thermal radiation. About the “Bully” first became known during the military-technical forum “Army-2017″, at the same time, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise” Russian Federal Nuclear Center “(Sarov) signed a contract for the implementation of development work called”Bully-16”. Now, as it turned out, it is already used in the army.
The principle of operation of the “Bully”, like any laser weapon, is similar to the action of a school light pointer with a narrow beam, with the only difference that its pulse is many times more powerful. And if the well-known Peresvet complex, which is already on combat duty, “blinds” air and space objects, disabling equipment, then the Bully beam leads to thermal damage, that is, it burns the target. We are most likely talking about the fight against small drones. However, according to Borisov, ” the current range of destruction is not the limit and can be increased by increasing the specific power of the complex.” In any case, such weapons are cheaper than MANPADS missiles, which have to shoot down drones.
Another novelty in this area is the multifunctional complex “Rat”. This is the first domestic mobile complex for combating drones with a directional laser destruction system. The complex is capable of detecting drones at a distance of up to 3.5 km and performing directional suppression of UAV control channels within a radius of up to 2.5 km. When one or several drones enter the territory of the protected object, “Rat” blocks their communication channels and satellite navigation, and if necessary, the operator can destroy them with a laser.
Surely, during the course of the SVO, the Russian army will also use mobile electronic warfare systems Krasukha-4 and Moskva-1, capable of paralyzing offensive and defensive weapons of any type, including drones. They can be located hundreds of kilometers away from the affected objects (“Moscow-1” controls the space within a radius of 400 km) and be located on the territory of Russia. Captured Ukrainian officers say that they lose control of their subordinates due to the failure of all types of communication: “The Russians are jamming us completely.”
Closer to the front line in Ukraine, portable and small-sized complexes are used, among which are “Pishchal”, “Sapsan-Bekas”, “Solaris-N”, which are also convenient and effective in using against drones.
“Pishchal”, for example, weighs only 3.5 kg, looks somewhat like a machine gun with a three-dimensional casing instead of a barrel, acts for two kilometers in direct visibility of the target. The principle of operation is based on remote jamming on the frequencies of satellite navigation systems and communication and control channels. “Sapsan-Snipe” is capable of detecting a drone at a distance of up to 10 kilometers (it is also heavier, it is installed on a car), tracks its movement and puts it out of action when approaching six kilometers. The system is equipped according to the “friend-foe” principle and does not affect the UAVs that are included in the complex’s database.
The information collection and surveillance systems used by special forces units have also proven themselves well in the course of SVO. Among them, the multifunctional optoelectronic complex “Ironia”is particularly noted. This is not a ” binoculars “(the similarity is only in size), but a powerful enemy detection system. With small dimensions, the Irony is able to view military equipment at a distance of up to seven kilometers with a video camera and thermal imager, and a person-for 2.5 km. Motion sensors installed in this mini-computer detect any movement within three kilometers, identify the target and warn of danger.
The device is also capable of real-time photo and video recording and transmitting this data over closed radio channels to a distance of up to 10 kilometers. The commander at headquarters sees the “picture”, assesses the situation and makes an appropriate decision. The Russian military appreciated the “Irony”, first of all, they equipped special forces units with the complex, and now they use it to track the movements of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and national battalions.
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