According to media reports, on the first day of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the Russian army launched a total of 160 “Iskander” tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, destroying 83 targets of the Ukrainian army.
The three “Iskander” missile brigades deployed in the border areas of Russia and Ukraine are equipped with about 27 missile launch vehicles each, with a total of about 100 missiles. The report said that as of now, most of the more than 160 missiles Russia has launched into Ukraine are short-range ballistic missiles, and the rest are cruise missiles like Kalibr and Kh-31 etc.
If it is true as the media said, most of the 160 tactical surface-to-surface missiles and cruise missiles launched by the Russian army are “Iskander” M ballistic missiles, then it means that the 100 9M723 ballistic missiles prepared by Russia before the war have been fired! which means a third of the total number of Russian “Iskander” was used!
The Russian army originally planned to complete the missile brigade equipped with at least five “Iskander” by 2015, with a total of 540 missiles. As a result, the equipment of the three missile brigades has not yet been completed, and the total number of missiles equipped is less than 300! The reason is super simple – no money!
Although the performance of the “Iskander” M system is very good – the maximum range is 500 kilometers, the warhead weight reaches 675 kilograms, and the hit accuracy reaches the level of 5 meters. The performance in actual combat is also very eye-catching, such as the record of a missile destroying 6 MiG-29s at the Ivano-Frankivsk Airport in Ukraine:
But the problem now is that Russia used 100 “Iskander” M tactical ballistic missiles in just one day after the war, which is one third of the entire Iskander fleet. However, if the ground-to-ground tactical missiles are not fired or are fired infrequently, what should we do if the front line needs firepower?
Some might think of the strategic bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces:
It is said that the cost of using Tu-160 and Tu-95, Tu-22M3 bombers to drop guided bombs is much lower than the cost of launching “Iskander” surface-to-surface missiles, but Russia has not done so. It is estimated that in addition to Russia, there is no powerful stealth fighter. After the “kick the door”, the Ukrainian air defense node was completely destroyed, and the biggest reason for worrying about the loss of its own fighter jets was to hide its forces to deal with possible armed interference by NATO.
Furthermore, Kyiv and Kharkiv are very close to the Russian-Ukrainian border and the Belarusian (Belarusian) Ukrainian border. The bombers needed to be deployed as soon as possible. And before the pilots were boarded to the plane, the ground-to-ground tactical missiles have already landed and exploded.
The last reason is that Russia consciously wants to reduce the intensity of the war and does not intend to use the world’s second strongest strategic bomber force.
How about using Russian flame thrower?
Twenty years ago, Russia’s “Tornado” 300mm multi-barrel rocket system represented the highest level in the world. The range of Tornado MRL is between 70-120km, but the accuracy of the hit is not so accurate. The 300-mm rocket is extremely powerful, and it will not be worth the gain if it brings a large number of innocent civilian casualties.
Now Russia was in very troublesome. Tactical surface-to-surface missiles dare not be used openly, cant move bombers, and artillery bombardment will definitely not work, and without these, Russian ground armored forces and helicopter forces are under the attack of “Javelin” and “Stinger”, the loss may not be light.
For comparison, according to statistics, before the war in Iraq in 2003, the US military had only about 900 BGM-109C and 100 BGM-109D Tomahawk cruise missiles, and 60 submarine-launched land-attack C-type missiles. 291 pieces were fired, which is equivalent to destroying nearly 30% of the inventory!
There is only one major country in the world that can continuously saturate and attack with “guided rockets” comparable to “Iskander” , and it is not the United States! but it’s China.
Therefore, war is a competition of comprehensive national strength. Now that Europe and the United States have provided weapons and equipment to Ukraine, Russia does not dare to let it go. The prospect of a Russian-Ukrainian war is unpredictable.