Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War in February this year, the Russian Armed Forces has been continuously attacking Ukraine with Cruise Missiles and Loitering Munitions. Russia has the largest and capability to launch cruise missiles equipped with a wide variety of warheads, from sea, land and air. Although, Ukraine is getting proper intelligence from the NATO and the USA about Incoming Missile Strikes on Ukrainian territories, but still the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces are unable to intercept and destroy russian cruise missiles, but why?
In the last ten days, the Russian military has continued to conduct missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. To date, Russia has fired more than a hundred long-range missiles at targets in Ukraine. The intensity of the attacks was comparable to the early days of the conflict.
What do these Russian missile attacks mean, how do they work, and why is it difficult for Ukraine’s air defense systems to intercept?
The attacks were carried out by all Russian long-range tactical missiles including: Kh-101 and Kh-55 (555) air-launched cruise missiles, the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet launched Caliber cruise missiles, missiles such as the Iskander tactical ballistic missile were also used in the attacks along with the Shahed-136 suicide drone.
It is worth mentioning that the Soviet-made Kh-55 cruise missile, was once transferred by Ukraine to Russia to pay off gas debt. There is reason to believe that it was Russia’s use of these old missiles to attack Kiev that caused Ukraine’s severe shock.
According to the American Institute for the Study of War, Russia has not carried out these high-intensity missile strikes since the end of February. According to a report by the General Staff of Ukraine and various open sources, the total number of long-range missiles launched in the past days have exceeded a hundred (according to some estimates, up to 150-200).
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the targets of these strikes were Ukraine’s power supply centers, command posts and communication facilities.
“The targets of the attack has been achieved; all designated targets were destroyed,” the Russian Defense Ministry announced.
According to information from Ukraine, up to now, 30% of Ukraine’s electricity supply infrastructure has been destroyed. Ukraine’s energy facilities such as substations, thermal power plants, distribution nodes – have actually stopped working.
Russia’s missile raid in recent days has not only military but also political significance.
First of all, from a military point of view, disabling electric substations will significantly limit the operational ability of electric railway lines.
And there have been reports that the Ukrainian railway industry, after the recent missile attack, is switching some routes from electric tractors to diesel engines. As a result, the transportation of weapons, fuel, ammunition and manpower to the battlefield was drastically reduced.
Currently, the consumption of shells in high-intensity combat alone can amount to tens of thousands of tons per day. The reduction of transport routes, making the attacks of the Ukrainian Army, inevitably reduce the intensity; even stopped completely in some directions.
The scale, number of targets, location of the attacks that Russia has conducted in the past few days shows that the Russian missile attacks have been carefully prepared at least a few weeks in advance.
According to the analysis of the US intelligence agency, the targets have been identified by the Russian side before; The missile’s flight routes have been mapped out and they just need to receive the command that the missile will be launched towards the pre-determined targets.
The Russian military has not attacked the capital Kiev for a long time, and many of the air defense systems that previously protected the Ukrainian capital’s airspace have been moved elsewhere.
Russia’s military leaders appear to have drawn some lessons from previous similar raids in effectively weakening Ukraine’s air defenses.
Previously, most such attacks were carried out by a maximum number of 20 to 30 missiles. And American technical intelligence sources, which tracked these missile launches in real time, promptly alerted Ukraine’s air defense systems long before the incoming Russian missiles entered the target area.
In fact, thanks to American intelligence, the Ukrainian military often knows in advance from which direction the Russian long-range missile was launched and at what time to deploy an interceptor.
This information is extremely important for Ukraine’s air defense systems. Thanks to such warning information, the Ukrainian air defense system can simply turn on the active radar mode for just a few seconds, which is enough to lock the attacking missile in the final course of the flight.
Remember, the less active Ukrainian air defense radars are, the harder it is for the Russian military to detect and the less chance they will be hit by anti -radiation missiles.
However, in the attack from October 10 until now, the Russian military has followed a completely different tactic.
First, the missile attack was conducted massively, with dozens of missiles being used simultaneously.
Second, dozens of missiles of different types fly from different directions at the same time, aiming to reach the target simultaneously from different directions.
In such conditions, the Ukrainian air defenses protecting the target will be overwhelmed. Even if the missile launches can be detected in advance by the US side and promptly reported to Ukraine; But the simultaneous launch of missiles to the target from many different directions, will make the air defense force helpless in fighting back.
During a recent Russian attack, missiles were launched in at least three and possibly even four waves.
The large number of recent Russian missile launches shows that the frequency and number of missiles are relatively high. The Western and Ukrainian media claims that “Russia has run out of missiles” has proven to be the opposite.
Thus, both the political and military goals of Russia’s missile attacks in the past few days have been completely achieved. However, western experts say that Russia’s missile attacks are purely political, and have little military value.
Russia’s missile strikes have only long-term military significance, if they continue with similar intensity in the coming days. To achieve combat effectiveness, not only the intensity, but the continuous frequency of such operations is very important.
Now attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure continue, albeit on a slightly smaller scale; however, Russian attacks shut down 30% of Ukraine’s electricity grid.
And last night, according to Ukrainian sources, at least 12 Russian Shahed-136 UAVs tried to attack the capital Kiev. This is one of the biggest attacks on the Ukrainian capital, using these unmanned aerial vehicles, since they were first used.
According to preliminary information, at least three explosions were heard on the outskirts of Kiev, however, the fact that 12 Shahed-136 suicide drones participated in the air raid at the same time showed the determination of Russia to destroy the Ukraine’s military and energy infrastructure.
According to Ukrainian sources, at least one Shahed-136 drone was shot down while approaching Kiev.