Russian operator: Buk-M3 tracks projectile’s path fired by HIMARS

MOSCOW ($1=61.32 Russian Rubles) — In recent weeks, the Russian armed forces have changed their tactics against enemy weapons systems. Increasingly, reconnaissance drones equipped with high-resolution optics are coming into use. These unmanned aerial vehicles help identify enemy artillery.

Russian operator: Buk-M3 tracks projectile's path fired by HIMARS
Photo credit: Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

Once the location of Ukrainian artillery is established, the reconnaissance drones transmit the geolocation to the command operations center. Loitering munitions or an artillery shell is then launched and an accurate hit. Exactly the same tactics have been used by the Ukrainian armed forces since the beginning of the war. The difference is that Ukraine received quality reconnaissance drones from its partners. The Russian ones, especially the Orlan-10, failed. Something that is not even a secret in Russia and was soon heavily criticized by a senior officer of the Russian army headquarters.

Buk-M3 is a Russian self-propelled anti-aircraft missile system. It is an important part of the Russian artillerymen’s arsenal. Since the beginning of the war, the system has been involved in the destruction of Ukrainian artillery or aerial objects [drones, airplanes]. This is the latest version of the Buk-M1 family. It is in service only in the composition of the Russian army. It features a monofunctional channel that detects 36 enemy targets simultaneously.

Buk-M3 vs HIMARS

This is important because a Russian operator of this system gave an interview to the Russian media Izvestia. In the video, the operator says that his Buk-M3 can locate a Ukrainian HIMARS MLRS if it tracks the projectiles fired by the HIMARS. In this way, a reconnaissance drone can be easily directed to the area marked by the system to confirm the geolocation of the Ukrainian HIMARS.

Photo credit: Twitter

According to the Russian soldier, HIMARS is best detected if the American-made system fires multiple projectiles in a short time interval. In this way, a portion of the Buk-M3’s 36 tracking channels are engaged and the system extrapolates the exact location of the launcher. “You can shoot down in batches. In principle, if there are three missiles [from HIMARS], you can shoot down with one of our missiles,” the Buk-M3 operator told Izvestia.

A missile fired from a Buk-M3 flies at a speed of 3,000 meters per second. The rocket reaches a speed of Mach 8.8, which is the maximum number. There are various assumptions, but according to the Russian developers of the system, the Buk-M3 can hit an aircraft with 95% accuracy, a cruise missile with up to 80% accuracy, and a tactical ballistic missile with up to 70% accuracy.

A difficult target

Ever since HIMARS “set foot” on Ukrainian soil and began to actively participate in the hostilities, Russia and Ukraine have been exchanging conflicting information. For example, Moscow claims that at least several HIMARS systems were destroyed, while Kyiv, supported by Washington in its statement, claims that none of the delivered HIMARS systems were hit.

There is evidence for at least one thing – some of the missiles fired by HIMARS either fail to explode or are intercepted by Russian missiles. It is when talking about interception that the Buk-M3 is most often mentioned, as a countermeasure against HIMARS missiles.

Russia showed GMLRS rockets from HIMARS, their scan is pending
Photo credit: Telegram

This is what a Russian officer said in July of this year when he reported that the Buk-M3 was “so far the most successful against HIMARS”. However, the Russian soldier paid serious attention to the American HIMARS system. He praised its capabilities, telling Russian online media that it was the weapon that most challenged the Russian armed forces and was a very difficult target.

“The most difficult target we have worked on is HIMARS rockets. These shells … fly at a very high altitude. We at least detect [missiles] up to 22 thousand meters in height. The difficulty lies in the fact that the range is short, and the time to make a decision is minimal… Our combat crews valiantly cope with the task of shooting down, literally within 10 seconds… The effective dispersion area of ​​​​​​these shells is very small, only zero. Therefore, the target is considered small-sized, high-speed,” said the Russian gunner in the interview.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 21 February 2022, the Russian government claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility on the Russia Ukraine border. Moscow also claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.

Official: Video shows the first use of M142 HIMARS by Ukraine
Photo credit: Own sources

On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR as independent states. According to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole. Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.

On 24 February 2022, Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country. The invasion followed also by targeted tanks entering via Belarus border.

Russia has so far not recognized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, although that is exactly what it is, claiming that it is a “special military operation”. According to the UN, in which Russia has its permanent representation, for military action to be defined as a “special military operation”, it must have a resolution issued by the UN. There is no such resolution, which automatically defines the military actions of the Russians as an invasion and war against the citizens of Ukraine.


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