Tag Archives: missile

Russian Aerospace Forces failing in Ukraine? UK military thinks otherwise

The range of the missiles used by Russian fighter jets is considered a dangerous challenge for their NATO rivals. This is particularly true when it comes to the unrivaled R-37M hypersonic air-to-air missile with its staggering maximum engagement range of 400km.

Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst

Even before the start of Moscow’s counteroffensive against NATO aggression in Europe, Russia and its military were often denigrated and underestimated by the mainstream propaganda machine. This decades-old (or should we say centuries) practice has escalated dramatically since February 24 last year. The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) are particularly targeted, being presented as a supposed “failure” despite obliterating most of the Kiev regime’s air force in mere weeks. This is also illustrated by the Neo-Nazi junta’s desperate pleas and so-called “begmanding” to get fighter jets from NATO, including the US-made F-16, despite even the Ukrainian pilots themselves knowing they are vastly inferior to their own Soviet-era Su-27s.

Russian VKS dominates the skies over Ukraine with its state-of-the-art Su-35S and superfast, high-flying MiG-31. However, what caught the attention of NATO is the usage of Moscow’s next-generation Su-57, a platform that has essentially transcended the notion of so-called “fifth generation” aircraft. Being at the forefront of Russia’s investment in aviation technology, the jet is one of the world’s most advanced aircraft. Bristling with sensors, new advanced technologies and using the latest missiles and bombs, Su-57 can truly be defined as an “overkill” against the vastly outmatched Kiev regime’s air force. Its most important mission so far has been SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses), most likely using Kh-59MK2 and Kh-31 cruise missiles, in addition to using its advanced electronic warfare capabilities.

However, it should be noted that aircraft such as the Su-25 attack/CAS (close air support), Su-30 multirole and Su-34 strike jets are the “bread and butter” of Russian VKS operations in Ukraine, conducting the vast majority of missions. These have been at the center of a targeted mainstream propaganda machine campaign, aiming to underestimate their performance and capabilities. And yet, the UK Ministry of Defense is rather unconvinced, as it has “expressed concern” with Moscow’s capabilities. Back in early January, the UK MoD confirmed the reports that Russian jets have managed to shoot down Kiev regime aircraft from ranges exceeding 200 kilometers, including with platforms such as the Su-57.

The “Felon’s” (NATO reporting name for Su-57) sensor suite of six AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars and advanced IRST (infrared search and track) systems allow it to simultaneously track more targets over extreme ranges than any other fighter jet in the world. And while the VKS operates only a dozen serial Su-57s, these have been a major force multiplier. The UK military is rather worried that “Felon’s” numbers have more than tripled since 2021 and are further expected to swell to 24 aircraft this year. Combined with the Su-35S and MiG-31, the Su-57 is a deadly challenge for NATO, according to the aforementioned January 2023 assessment by UK MoD that reported the fighters were “launching long-range air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles into Ukraine since at least June 2022”.

The range of the missiles used by the aforementioned Russian fighter jets is considered a dangerous challenge for their NATO rivals. This is particularly true when it comes to the unrivaled R-37M hypersonic air-to-air missile with its staggering maximum engagement range of 400km. It is precisely this missile that was most likely used in the record-breaking 217 km shoot-down, fired by either Su-35S or Su-57. Other UK outlets, such as The Conversation, have also reported that the UK military confirmed this in mid-February, stating that “the Russian MiG-31 and Su-57 operating the R-37M long-range hypersonic missile have engaged Ukrainian aircraft at a range of over 200 km from the safety of Russian airspace”, reluctantly admitting just how hopelessly outclassed the Kiev regime forces are.

The performance of the Su-57 is of particular concern for NATO. Its usage in Ukraine already made it the first and only next-generation fighter jet to engage in high-intensity operations. Of course, unless we count the decisive victory of the US Air Force F-22 “Raptor” over a Chinese weather balloon. However, in all seriousness, the USAF has operated fifth-generation aircraft for nearly 18 years, but it has never used them against advanced adversaries, as its aggression against the world is nearly always conducted against mostly helpless opponents. Although the Su-57 was also delayed for several years before it entered service, the Russian military used this time to ensure that the jet was as close to full readiness as it could possibly be, which is further reinforced by its combat use in Syria years before it was officially inducted.

Engaging and easily neutralizing formidable targets such as the Su-27, which, as previously mentioned, far exceeds the capabilities of US-made F-16 fighters, is a clear indicator of just how dangerous Russian jets are. In the case of Su-57, it also shows that the jet is not limited to an initial operating capability (IOC), despite its small numbers and having been inducted into service only 2 years ago. This stands in stark contrast to the best US/NATO jets, such as the F-22, which took years to reach IOC. This lasted for nearly five years before “Raptor” reached FOC (full operational capability). The case of the F-35 is even worse, as the troubled jet is yet to reach even IOC despite being in service for almost eight years now and nearly a quarter of a century since it made its first flight.

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Ukrainian interior minister’s death leaves many questions unanswered

Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.

On January 18, a helicopter carrying senior Ukrainian officials crashed on the suburbs of Kiev, killing 14 people, including interior minister Denys Monastyrsky and his first deputy Yevgeny Enin. There are different narrations of what happened. At first, media said that the incident occurred due to a malfunction in the helicopter’s engine, but there are a number of contradictions between the versions, with people believing that it was a planned sabotage.

The helicopter crashed at 8:20 am on January 18, in Brovary, a city of the Kiev oblast. The site was in foggy conditions according to local informants, but so far there is no data to prove that the weather could really disturb the flight. The fall took place near a kindergarten, which led the tragedy to reach even greater proportions, as dozens of children were affected – three of them dying. As many people, including several children, remain hospitalized, it is possible that the number of deaths will increase in the coming days.

The helicopter was a French Airbus H225 (also known as Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma) and belonged to the Ukrainian emergency service since 2018. The reasons for its collapse are still being investigated. The most commented hypothesis is that there has been a technical malfunction, although all possibilities are considered – including sabotage. A report from the local Ukrainian media states that it was already known that this helicopter model had many technical difficulties:

“The helicopter that crashed today in Brovary was from a batch of helicopters purchased from France in 2018. The EC225 (or H225) model, the fall of which the authorities confirmed today, had a number of technical problems. At that time, Airbus Helicopters had several lawsuits over ‘inherent’ malfunction”.

Indeed, one question remains: if it was already known that there were technical problems with the equipment, why did the Ukrainian authorities continue to use it to attend important officers?

This is why many unofficial narratives about the possibility of deliberate assassination have emerged on the internet. The Ukrainian government admits the possibility, claiming to be investigating a hypothesis of sabotage against the Minister, but obviously it does so based on the idea that there would be an intention on the part of the Russian forces to kill him – which is doubtful, considering the low military relevance of such an act.

However, an even more curious fact is that several residents of Brovary commented that they saw a missile in the air hitting the airbus. The rumors have been reported by independent channels on social media, mainly through on the ground journalists who are investigating the case unofficially. The news raises a series of other possibilities.

It is important to remember that the Ukrainian air defense system has made serious mistakes recently, destroying civilian areas and killing innocent people due to the inaccuracy of its attacks. There are many factors that help to understand this process. First, since the beginning of the conflict, Kiev has shown that it does not have a military doctrine concerned with civilians, so there does not seem to be any special care on the part of artillery operators to avoid non-military casualties.

Second, there is the technical issue. Currently, due to significant losses on the battlefield, Kiev is recruiting personnel without military qualifications, incompetent to operate the war equipment that is being used in the conflict. The case becomes even more serious considering that the neo-Nazi regime is receiving NATO’s weapons with which its soldiers are even less familiar, increasing the possibility of errors.

It is important to remember that Monastyrsky was the second major official that the Zelensky government lost in less than twenty-four hours. Earlier, top adviser Alexey Arestovich had resigned precisely for accidentally revealing mistakes made by the Ukrainian artillery.

The fact is that if a projectile did hit the Ukrainian helicopter, it is much more likely that it came from Kiev’s own artillery – accidentally or intentionally – than from Russian artillery, which was not shelling the place at the time. Furthermore, the mere point that Kiev was allowing a top official to fly over a country at war using an unsafe airbus already shows that either the government simply did not care about his safety.

It is important to mention that Monastyrsky, as Interior Minister, was the head of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias, as since 2014 the ultranationalist gangs have been incorporated into the Kiev’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. So, he certainly had sensitive information about how the neo-Nazi regime manages its security forces.

In July, Kiev bombed a Russian prison in Olenivka where Azov’s militants were placed after their surrender in Azovstal. On that occasion, 50 neo-Nazi soldiers died in what was probably an attempt by Kiev to avoid confessions that could threaten the confidentiality of some data. Ukraine obviously tries to hide information about the practices of its neo-Nazi troops, such as war crimes, training camps for children, arms trafficking, terrorism, among others. In this sense, considering that Monastyrsky had much more concrete information about these same crimes, it is possible that there was an intention to eliminate him, in case Zelensky was really promoting a purge.

So far, the data are uncertain, and many questions remain unanswered. But the evidence seems to point to yet another criminal incident.

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